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Medical oaths less of a moral compass for physicians

Most physicians take part in a medical school oath ceremony, but few believe that the rite of passage has strongly shaped their sense of professionalism, according to an article published March 14 in Archives of Internal Medicine. Nearly 80% of 1,032 practicing physicians surveyed in 2009 said they took part in a medical school oath ceremony using the original or modified version of the Hippocratic Oath, the Osteopathic Oath, the Prayer of Maimonides or the Declaration of Geneva. However, only 26% said the oath they took significantly influenced their practice of medicine or provided moral guidance in their medical careers ( "These data suggest that for most physicians, the taking of the oath is not a pivotal, meaningful, signal event, but just something that happens," said Farr A. Curlin, MD, co-author of the article. "Some people take it really seriously, and are looking to take it seriously. Others just see it as one more ri ...

Growing number of hospitals ban hiring smokers

More hospitals are refusing to hire smokers. Not all states allow this, and some anti-tobacco activists are uncomfortable with this trend. "We hope that people will be encouraged to quit smoking and quit using nicotine products and build a healthy life for themselves," said Julie Uehara, spokeswoman for Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio, which implemented a nicotine-free hiring policy in January. No studies show how many hospitals have banned hiring smokers. However, more hospitals have reported instituting such restrictions. For example: * ProMedica, which owns several hospitals in Michigan and Ohio. * St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. * Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester, Mich. These institutions have been smoke-free for years, and the restrictive policies follow the Cleveland Clinic, which in 2007 became one of the first health care institutions to stop hiring smokers. Though some nonhospital employers have reported saving m ...

35% of orthopedic imaging costs stem from defensive medicine

Nearly 20% of imaging tests ordered by Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeons were for defensive purposes, according to a new study examining testing decisions of 72 surgeons. The study, presented Feb. 16 at an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons conference, found that defensive testing accounted for 35% of all imaging costs for surveyed surgeons. The most common defensive test ordered was an MRI, a more costly test that contributed to higher imaging expenses, the study said. In the survey, members of the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society were asked to record a series of imaging decisions and note whether tests were for clinical care or defensive reasons. Test decisions were recorded for 2,068 patients. The many lawsuits that hinge on claims that doctors should have ordered more diagnostic testing are probably the driving force behind the defensive tests, said John Flynn, MD, associate chief of orthopedic surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The hospital's researchers ...