If Senate Bill 3 were to pass tomorrow, Pennsylvania would be the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. Part of the debate over legalization, of course, has turned on the nature of the substance and the difference between it and recreational marijuana. In particular, advocates object to the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug -- a drug without a currently accepted medical use, lacking research to support medically supervised use and having a "high potential for abuse" -- right alongside heroin, LSD and Ecstasy.
It is hard to believe that the Fourth of July is just days away. The Fourth is, really, Philadelphia's holiday, and the city and its surrounds make the most of it. The streets and highways will be crowded with people on their way to their favorite event, whether it's a concert, a festival or the fireworks at Penn's Landing, where the Tall Ships will add to the excitement.
An op-ed in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago has garnered hundreds of interesting comments from readers. (See the article here and click on the comments link for a small sample.) The subject is nurses, particularly the trend among hospitals to increase nurses' patient loads. Most everyone agrees that nurses are essential, that nurses play a critical role in patient outcomes. Hardly anyone agrees on why it is that hospitals continue to understaff emergency rooms, care units and clinics.
We are finishing up our discussion of the difference between coroners and medical examiners. As we have said, the terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not strictly identical jobs. While the coroner may be a physician, there is generally no requirement for an active medical license. That is not to say that some states do not require coroners to be MDs.
A doctor is a doctor, even if he or she is a coroner or a medical examiner. The job does not affect the duties and accountabilities of a medical professional. If you have a license to practice, you are bound by the rules, regulations and statutes of the state you practice in. Even if your patients are already dead when they come into your office.
For a long time, a friend of ours thought the term "medical examiner" was just a fancy way to say "coroner." It took some time, but we eventually succeeded in convincing her that they are not the same and that the differences are not minor matters -- depending on where you are. It may or may not be as simple as, say, one being appointed and the other elected.
There is no doubt that working as a doctor or nurse is an incredibly stressful career. When most people call something “a matter of life or death,” they’re being figurative. But for medical professionals, this phrase is all too literal. Every day, doctors and nurses are faced with high-stakes decisions that, depending on the circumstances, could have either miraculous or disastrous consequences.
We are returning to the discussion about legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania -- and we are just in time for the state House of Representatives' public hearings on March 24. The hearings will not decide anything, but lawmakers will listen to and consider the opinions of the public and experts on both sides of the issue.
Dealing with a licensing board on your own can be a difficult and frustrating process. Your medical license may be questioned by the licensing board if you are accused of a crime or misconduct or if you receive treatment for a substance abuse problem.
The statewide debate over legalizing medical marijuana continues, but now the governor has weighed in: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced recently that he would sign a bill if it could pass both houses of the General Assembly. It may end up being a safer position for Pennsylvania's new governor: While public support is strong, it is by no means a sure thing that the bill will make it to his desk.