an ambulance parked at the entrance of an emergency department

Psychiatric Care in Crisis

By Zainab Ahmed

Psychiatric care in the Emergency Department is all-or-nothing and never enough. Often, legal holds are the only intervention available, and they rarely are therapeutic. Upon discharge, our patients are, once again, on their own.

The ED acts as a safety-net for a failing health system, one that places little value on mental health services, either preventative or follow-up. The demand for acute psychiatric care is high; however, EDs have little physical capacity for psychiatric patients.

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Surgeon and anesthetist doctor ER team with medical clinic room background.

On Experiencing IBD as a Woman

By Amalia Sweet

At the end of last summer I stopped eating. It wasn’t that I wasn’t hungry — I was, constantly — but rather that pretty much everything I tried to put in my stomach triggered excruciating abdominal pain. 

While still in Chicago where I was working toward my master’s degree, I went to University Health Services. When tests revealed I was anemic but free of ulcers and Celiac disease, they suggested I work to reduce my stress and follow up with a gastroenterologist when I returned home to Boston later that month. 

I called every medical practice I could think of in the greater Boston area and no one had availability sooner than four months out. Without a primary care physician and desperate for a diagnosis, I went to the ER. In spite of my anemia and the fact that I had lost a scary amount of weight in a short period of time, the ER refused to provide a prioritized referral and told me my symptoms were a product of me being sedentary when in fact I was sedentary because of my symptoms. 

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AI-generated image of robot doctor with surgical mask on.

Who’s Liable for Bad Medical Advice in the Age of ChatGPT?

By Matthew Chun

By now, everyone’s heard of ChatGPT — an artificial intelligence (AI) system by OpenAI that has captivated the world with its ability to process and generate humanlike text in various domains. In the field of medicine, ChatGPT already has been reported to ace the U.S. medical licensing exam, diagnose illnesses, and even outshine human doctors on measures of perceived empathy, raising many questions about how AI will reshape health care as we know it.

But what happens when AI gets things wrong? What are the risks of using generative AI systems like ChatGPT in medical practice, and who is ultimately held responsible for patient harm? This blog post will examine the liability risks for health care providers and AI providers alike as ChatGPT and similar AI models increasingly are used for medical applications.

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Blood donor at donation with bouncy ball holding in hand.

Lift the Blood Ban, But Don’t Penalize PrEP Users 

By Doron Dorfman

On May 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is lifting its highly contested blood deferral policy for men who have sex with men (MSM, i.e., gay and bisexual men), colloquially known as the blood ban.

While this decision should be applauded as a step toward equality, the policy remains flawed and needlessly stigmatizing, as it excludes potential donors who use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an antiviral regimen that prevents HIV infection from sex.

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Doctor wearing glasses listening to female patient.

Physician Free Speech and the Doctor-Patient Relationship Post-Dobbs

By Lynette Martins and Scott Schweikart

Laws regulating physicians’ professional speech – i.e., what they can and cannot discuss in the exam room with patients — have made a resurgence in the post-Dobbs era. These so-called “gag laws” have primarily targeted physicians’ speech around firearms, reproductive rights (predominantly abortion), and, less frequently, conversion therapy.

In the abortion context, these restrictive laws impact not only patient access to critical medical services, but also the fundamental underpinnings of the physician-patient relationship.

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Health insurance application form with money, calculator, and stethoscope.

Going Public – The Future of ART Access Post-Dobbs

By Katherine Kraschel

The loss in Dobbs and the bleak outlook for abortion rights within the federal courts may afford advocates a unique opportunity to fully adopt a reproductive justice framework and apply it to access to fertility care, as other contributors to this symposium have argued.

This article outlines specific strategies for blue states eager to stake a claim in the reproductive justice movement to consider.

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Magazines on wooden table on bright background.

Monthly Round-Up of What to Read on Pharma Law and Policy 

By Ameet Sarpatwari, Aviva Wang, andAaron S. Kesselheim

Each month, members of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) review the peer-reviewed medical literature to identify interesting empirical studies, policy analyses, and editorials on health law and policy issues.

Below are the citations for papers identified from the month of April. The selections feature topics ranging from an analysis of government and industry investments for recently approved drugs, to a discussion of court decisions on mifepristone, and an examination of the added therapeutic benefit associated with the top-selling brand-name drugs in Medicare.

A full posting of abstracts/summaries of these articles may be found on our website.

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Surgeon at work in the operating room.

AMA Supports Physicians’ Access to Fertility Preservation

By Scott J. Schweikart*

Many medical professionals in the United States today face a personal dilemma over whether to delay (and potentially forego) starting a family in order to fulfill lengthy medical training. In response to these concerns, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently passed a new policy that supports trainee access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

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