Noteworthy Blog Posts


My honey and I are starting up a new business venture, so I’ve been very busy with that and haven’t had the time to surf around and read all of my favorite blogs lately.

However, there were a few noteworthy posts that I did catch.

First, the legal equivalent of “Grand Rounds” for medical blogs appears to be the “Blawg Review.” My favorite legal blog – – hosted the Blawg Review earlier in the week and was kind enough to mention the saga of my trial as one of the entries. Thanks, Walter! If you are interested in what’s going on in the legal blog world, I encourage you to follow the Blawg Review.

Second, Mark Plaster, the executive editor at Emergency Physician’s Monthly (the publication that is hosting this blog right now) put forth an excellent summary of the Kennedy-Dodd health care bill. Employer-linked insurance and “gatekeeper” concepts haven’t worked thus far, but are apparently going to be pushed further down our throats. I can guarantee they won’t work in this system, either. By the way, speaking about, look at the provision some legislators were trying to slip into the health care bill. Fortunately, it was blocked by Republican leaders.

Third is a thought provoking post by Joseph Crea on about healthcare reform. He does a good job at debunking some of the disinformation used to argue against free market reform and for national health care. We have to change our culture before we change our system. Neither is going to happen quickly. My favorite quote: Government-run health care is “akin to treating lung cancer with cough medicine on the advice of Phillip Morris.”

Fourth is an insightful post in the NY Times about health care rationing and why it must happen in the US. The bigger question is how we will decide what gets rationed.

Finally, Kevin wrote an interesting editorial article in USA Today about how many physicians are relying on Wikipedia for information when they do medical research … and how doing so might not be the wisest choice. Congratulations again on taking it to the mainstream media, Kevin.

Kevin’s article got me thinking, though. According to a survey done by Manhattan Research, more than half of physicians report utilizing Wikipedia for medical research.

The problem is that anyone can create or edit a post on Wikipedia, so the information being disseminated should be taken with a grain of salt.  Pharmaceutical companies have been caught deleting information about adverse effects from the medications they produce (I’m not calling those reactions allergies). There are even cases of editing wars between “Wikifiddlers” who change an entry only to have it immediately changed back by someone with a contrary view. Not too long ago the Church of Scientology was banned from editing any entries on Wikipedia due to the repeated editing wars. Want to get Tom Cruise pissed off? Post an entry on the Scientology Wikipedia entry saying that vitamin therapy is for looney birds.

As I transcribed the next several posts about my trial (coming out soon) concerning expert witness testimony, I thought that medical expert testimony is similar to a post on Wikipedia. Heck, any expert testimony is similar to a Wikipedia post.

A jury has to depend on the information given by the expert to make a decision, but the jury has no idea about the bona fides or the biases of the person making the statements. The expert’s statements can be completely erroneous opinions supported by little or no fact, and the jury doesn’t get to ask the expert questions to follow up on the expert’s statements. Despite all this, the jury has to take the expert testimony at face value and base their verdict on that information.

Interesting system, huh?

I’ve got a couple of dozen other news articles and sites that I have bookmarked over the past few weeks, so I’ll try to start doing the Healthcare Roundup again next week.


  1. I wonder if anyone’s subjected expert testimony to the same scrutiny as, for example, the cost-effectiveness of toothpaste? Since we are in the era of EBM, I say we demand “Evidence-Based Expert Testimony.” When might we expect the next Cochrane Review?

  2. Actually the jury doesn’t just have to sit and listen to the defense or plaintiff expert speak extemporaneously and unquestioned. He is cross examined by the other side. The lawyer questioning him has had months after the experts deposition to review it and consult with his own experts about the flaws and weakesses of the opinion and how best to show those to the jury.

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