Nearly all of the doctors 97 percent reported having used some kind of placebo treatment at least once, while 12 percent reported having used a fake pill. About 77 percent of doctors said they used some kind of placebo treatment every week; more than 80 percent of them said their use in some circumstances was ethical. The “placebo effect” treatments included unnecessary physical exams, joint injections, physical therapy, peppermint pills for a sore throat and antibiotics for infections where they would not be effective. Dr. Tony Calland, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Ethics Committee, said he was disappointed by the findings. “Prescribing something that you know is of no value is not ethical,” he said. A previous study found about half of U.S. doctors regularly give their patients treatments that probably won’t work without telling them, and the practice has been reported elsewhere, including Canada, Denmark and Switzerland. The American Medical Association says physicians may only use placebos if the patient is aware. In 2011, the German Medical Association recommended doctors use fake pills and other placebo treatments more often and said patients didn’t necessarily need to be told. Some small studies have found dummy pills work even when patients are explicitly told what they’re getting and others have documented the fake treatments can spark a biological effect in the body. “For illnesses where there is no truly effective treatment, a placebo or alternative therapy is a fine thing to do,” said Dr. Walter Brown, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University and author of a recent book on placebos. He was not connected to the new study. Brown said doctors weren’t obligated to use the word “placebo” when prescribing the treatment. He said doctors should just be honest with patients and suggested they tell them the pill has no medication in it but might still somehow help.
Newport pals are Wales’ first emergency scene doctors (From South Wales Argus)
Former Bassaleg School pupils James Chinery and Gareth Roberts have been on standby to attend call-outs since September 2. A doctor would usually need to be taken away from accident and emergency departments to attend the scene. The Welsh Ambulance service said in what is claimed to be a UK first, the pair will provide quicker treatment to patients and ease the pressure on A&E. The two doctors, on a 12 month contract, are both specialists in anaesthetics. Each is working out of a rapid response vehicle or a Wales Air Ambulance – Mr Chinery in the north and Mr Roberts in the south – and is sent to appropriate incidents by the control centre. Newport-born Mr Roberts, who now lives in Cardiff, and who previously worked at the University Hospital of Wales, added: Were here to assist the crew already on scene, and work as a team. Were there if a patient needs that advanced care. Mr Chinery added: Our knowledge and experience means we can advise where is best for a patient to travel, whether it is a specialist emergency department or stroke unit. It might mean travelling that bit further, but us being on scene means we can start that critical care. Their official title is Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) doctors. Richard Lee, Head of Clinical Services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: There is clear evidence that victims of major trauma do better when they are treated quickly by a senior clinical decision maker. Patients suffering a heart attack or stroke benefit from treatment at a specialist coronary unit or stroke unit. “Sometimes this means taking the patients past the local hospital.