Fired Swedish Health neurosurgeon awarded $17.5 million
An arbitrator has awarded $17.5 million to Dr. David Newell, who says he was fired in retaliation for questioning the practices of another surgeon, The Seattle Times reports. Swedish, however, says Newell was fired for failing to notify the organization that he had been arrested and jailed in a prostitution sting. Swedish and its parent organization, Providence, is challenging the award.
No cause found for cluster of fatal birth defects in Central Wash.
Between 2010 and 2016, 45 babies in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties were born with anencephaly – a rate that’s about four times the national average. The state Department of Health found no single factor to blame for the elevated rate, The Yakima Herald-Republic reports. The mothers did consume less folic acid compared to other women in the state.
Insurers restrict pricey, less addictive painkillers
Amid America’s opioid epidemic, many insurers provide easy access to generic opioids while at the same time limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, ProPublica and The New York Times report. Experts say it’s about cost: Opioids are generally less expensive than safer alternatives.
A physician writes about helping patients end their lives
“As California moves into its second year of legal aid in dying, it’s clear that for the most part, physicians are hesitant rather than resistant,” Dr. Catherine Sonquist Forest writes in Vox. Medical aid in dying is also legal in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, Vermont and Washington, D.C.