Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport

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Vanessa's Law and Mandatory Reporting
Health care issues

Vanessa's Law, or the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, is a critical piece of legislation that aims to enhance patient safety and improve Health Canada's oversight of therapeutic products. It was enacted in 2014 in response to the tragic death of 15-year-old Vanessa Young, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia after taking the prescribed medication cisapride (Prepulsid®). The law seeks to bolster post-market safety information collection, take appropriate action when serious health risks are identified, and promote transparency in the oversight of therapeutic products.

For premed students preparing to become future physicians, understanding Vanessa's Law and its mandatory reporting requirements is essential. The law empowers Health Canada to require information, tests, or studies, enforce label changes or package modifications, recall unsafe therapeutic products, disclose information in certain circumstances, and impose stringent measures for noncompliance.

Effective December 16th, 2019, health care institutions are required to report serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and medical device incidents (MDIs) under the law. This mandatory reporting helps to identify emerging safety issues, assess the harm versus benefit of drugs and medical devices, and improve patient outcomes and public health by sharing learnings through warnings, advisories, and risk mitigation measures.

Premed students can benefit from understanding the importance of Vanessa's Law in promoting patient safety, strengthening the healthcare system's knowledge base, and driving continuous improvement in the medical field. By familiarizing themselves with this legislation, future physicians will be better equipped to comply with mandatory reporting requirements and contribute to a safer healthcare environment.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Health care issues

When Breath Becomes Air is a poignant, autobiographical account of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, an accomplished neurosurgeon who found himself facing stage IV metastatic lung cancer at the age of 36. This inspiring memoir details his journey from a promising medical career to grappling with terminal illness, ultimately exploring the meaning of life, death, and the role of medicine in the face of mortality.

For premed students preparing for a career as physicians, When Breath Becomes Air offers a unique and deeply personal perspective on the medical profession, challenging them to confront the fragile nature of life and the impact they can have on patients' lives. As they follow Dr. Kalanithi's reflections on his career and his transition from a doctor to a patient, students can gain invaluable insights into the human side of medicine, which often goes beyond the technical skills and knowledge they acquire in their education.

The book serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and effective communication in the practice of medicine. It encourages students to consider the broader implications of their work and the profound responsibility they hold as future physicians. By bearing witness to Dr. Kalanithi's vulnerability and resilience, students can learn to approach their profession with humility, self-awareness, and a deep sense of purpose.

In summary, When Breath Becomes Air is a transformative read for premed students, providing them with a profound understanding of the human experience in healthcare. By exploring the intricacies of life, death, and the practice of medicine through Dr. Kalanithi's journey, students can develop the compassion, empathy, and wisdom that will be essential to their success as future physicians.

"Amazing account of the patient perspective and what Doctors may not consider about the patient perspective." - Ben

Atul Gawande (Author of many medical books)
Health care issues

"Great for understanding and learning about how patients will have different needs and how even if a treatment doesn’t make the most medical sense to a physician that it can actually be the best option based on what is important to the patient. " - Ben on Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande's books, including Being Mortal (2014), The Checklist Manifesto (2009), Better (2007), and Complications (2002), offer valuable insights into various aspects of medical practice, helping premed students better prepare as future physicians. These books discuss challenges, limitations, and improvement areas in medicine, offering readers a deeper understanding of patient care, medical ethics, and healthcare systems.

Being Mortal focuses on the end-of-life care and the importance of maintaining patients' dignity, autonomy, and quality of life. This book can help premed students appreciate the significance of compassionate and person-centered care, enabling them to consider patients' individual needs and preferences when making medical decisions.

The Checklist Manifesto emphasizes the value of using checklists in healthcare to reduce errors, improve patient outcomes, and streamline complex processes. This book highlights the importance of organization, teamwork, and communication in medical practice, preparing premed students for the collaborative nature of their future careers.

Better discusses the pursuit of excellence in medicine, offering insights into the habits and practices of highly effective physicians. Through this book, premed students can develop a better understanding of medical professionalism and learn strategies to enhance their own performance.

Complications explores the uncertainties and complexities inherent in medical practice, examining how physicians make decisions, handle errors, and deal with unexpected outcomes. This book encourages premed students to acknowledge and confront these challenges, fostering a more resilient and adaptable mindset.

In summary, Atul Gawande's books provide premed students with valuable perspectives on various aspects of medicine, helping them develop a well-rounded understanding of the profession and preparing them to become empathetic, effective, and ethical physicians.

Principles of Bioethics (University of Washington)
Bioethics

This is an education medical ethics site by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine. It focuses on topics, cases, and principles focused on bioethics. This is the best free resource online recommended by all our staff. We believe it is superior to Doing Right by Hebert.

The Principles of Bioethics, an educational medical ethics site by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine, offers invaluable resources to pre-med students preparing for their future roles as physicians. Authored by Thomas R. McCormick, D.Min., Senior Lecturer Emeritus, the site focuses on bioethics topics, cases, and principles, providing a comprehensive and accessible resource for aspiring medical professionals.

As future physicians, pre-med students must understand and apply ethical principles in their practice. The Principles of Bioethics offers guidance on four major principles of health care ethics, as outlined by Beauchamp and Childress (2008): respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice. By familiarizing themselves with these principles, students can develop a strong foundation for ethical decision-making in complex clinical situations.

The site explains how these principles can be applied to specific cases through a process of weighing and balancing competing duties. This approach helps students grasp the nuances of ethical decision-making, ensuring they consider the unique circumstances of each case and respect patients' diverse values.

Furthermore, understanding the history and development of medical ethics, from Hippocrates to contemporary philosophers, allows pre-med students to appreciate the evolution and significance of ethical principles in medicine. This knowledge will enable them to become more compassionate, responsible, and ethically-minded physicians.

In summary, the Principles of Bioethics offered by the University of Washington School of Medicine is an essential resource for pre-med students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate ethical dilemmas and make sound, morally-informed decisions in their future medical practice.

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