In October, California became the fifth state to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with prescriptions from their doctors after months of contentious debate. Religious groups and disability rights activists fought against the law and tried unsuccessfully to get a referendum on the ballot to overturn it. Late last week the bill’s authors announced that the aid-in-dying law would take effect June 9

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In Portland, Maine, a counselor helps the city’s Somali Muslim community navigate the ethical complexities of U.S. health care

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I’ve since read the obituaries of many of my patients. Sometimes I feel like I’m intruding, like glimpsing a stranger’s family having dinner through the kitchen curtains. But I think I read them to know a side of my patients I could never see on the wards: the way they were before they got sick

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Little Kate Summersgill certainly didn’t look like a child with Down syndrome — no telltale flat facial features. Devon and Mike Summersgill had believed baby Kate was certain to be born with the disorder because of a blood test recommended during her pregnancy. Even after the birth, when their baby looked fine, their genetic counselor, Laura Limone, insisted that the result of the test was not a mistake

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About 380,000 babies are born too soon every year in the United States, a preterm birth rate that’s far higher than most high-income, developed countries. Even with so many families facing the realities of a premature child, predicting the long-term health of a baby is difficult, and doctors have an even tougher time talking about those predictions with parents

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A day-long trip to the hospital stretched into a week of tests, scans and x-rays. Doctors found about a dozen of benign tumors in her brain and heart that triggered Brynleigh’s seizures. Tests revealed that a single chromosome spontaneously mutated, and the toddler’s body was missing a protein that suppressed tumors

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The quest for firm answers is not what medicine is all about

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When we visit our doctor or go into hospital, we have faith in the knowledge that the healthcare professionals involved are treating us according to proven scientific methods, otherwise known as evidence-based medicine (EBM). This means they’re prescribing drugs or selecting treatment methods that have proven successful in clinical research

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