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2 min read

Cancer Treatment Is Changing: Meet the People Rebelling

My wife snuck into her father’s ward on the palliative care unit where he was being treated for cancer in the summer of 2006. Visiting hours were coming to an end. Most family members and friends had left for the day so the area was quiet. My wife sat next to her father, and they talked quietly. “I don’t want to die,” he said. “It’s so nice sitting here with you, chatting.” But soon after, he did die. It broke my wife’s heart. She still sheds tears for a father who she always called when she needed advice, who made it through his father-of-the-bride speech when he had only months to live. I th
10 min read

Cancer and Kids: Is Medical Marijuana the Answer?

When Sierra Riddle stormed into the conference room at Denver’s child protective services office, the director of the agency was seated there, along with her son’s team of doctors, top administrators from the Children’s Hospital Colorado oncology department and lawyers. She recalls looking one of the physicians in the eye, defiant. “I’m done with this shit,” she remembers saying. “I’m done with you guys bullying us.” Then, she took out a bag and dumped the contents on the table: nine months of cancer drugs prescribed to her son, Landon, who was 4 at the time. He had been diagnosed more than a
The Atlantic
5 min read

The Ethics Issue Blocking Organ Transplant Research

As a matter of biology, brain death is catastrophic for the body. Yes, the heart can still beat and a ventilator can provide oxygen, but there is no brain to coordinate the tasks of staying alive. Hormones that tell organs what to do are out of whack. Inflammatory molecules flood the body. Cells die. “You can see the kidneys don’t work as well, the lungs don’t work was well, and the heart can look stunned,” says Darren Malinoski, a trauma surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University. There’s nothing to do for the dead patient at this point. But his or her organs can be saved, and because mo