Canadian Couple Sues U.S. Sperm Bank For Misrepresentation Of Donor

Canadians Angela Collins and Margaret Elizabeth Hanson thought they were opting for a highly educated man with an “impressive health history” when they selected a donor from a U.S.-based sperm bank to start their family, states The Globe And Mail.

However, now the couple is seeking damages for pain, suffering, and financial losses from the company Xytex Corporation in a lawsuit filed in a Georgia court last week.

Years after the birth of their son, the Port Hope, Ontario, the couple learned that they hadn’t been told their donor was a schizophrenic college dropout with a criminal record, the couple claims.

It could become a “class action lawsuit” – the Canadian couple isn’t the only one affected by the situation, according to Hersh.  The suit states the donor appears to have fathered 36 children and Hersh said she had at least 15 other clients who may join the suit.


Clinical Trials For Ebola Medicine To Start In Africa Next Month; Death Toll At 5,160

Ebola healthcare workers are trained on ways to treat infected patients at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 12 November 2014

According to the BBC, clinical trials to try to find an effective treatment for Ebola patients are to start in West Africa next month.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed by the worst outbreak of Ebola has risen to 5,160, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

The medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), which has been helping lead the fight against the virus, says three of its treatment centres will host three separate research projects.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has lifted the state of emergency imposed in the country.  She warned “this is not because the fight against Ebola is over”.

It marks the progress being made in the country, where the weekly number of new infections is falling.  In Guinea, the frequency of new cases no longer appears to be increasing, but remains high in Sierra Leone.

In a radio address she told the nation that night curfews would be reduced, weekly markets could take place and preparations were being made for the re-opening of schools.

Proactive Medicine

Health-Status-Factors-1At the World Healthcare Congress this year, Dr. John Kitzhaber stated that your behavior, and the social context in which you live are the two big, controllable factors that influence your health (see chart).

The healthcare you receive is a small factor on health: only a 10% influence on your health status. Kitzhaber is an MD who is in his third term as governor of Oregon (and hence CEO of a very large healthcare payer).

If you start with the question, “How can healthcare resources be used most effectively to give people longer, higher quality life?” then it’s obvious that investment in programs that can change behavior, identify chronic disease early, and help people cope better with their social environment has much more leverage: this is “proactive” medicine.

20% of healthcare resources spent here targets 55% of the health status pie, while the 80% of resources spent on reactive medicine targets 10% of the health status pie: that’s a 20x difference in the ratio of healthcare cost to potential effectiveness.

Proactive medicine is mainly primary care, behavioral health, public health, and wellness programs. It’s the part of medicine that has been generally defunded and reduced in status in the last generation, as resources and culture focused on the high-tech cure and as the incentive system rewarded higher volumes of higher value procedures.

Proactive medicine can be difficult because it requires really getting to know people and working with them over time to help them change their lives.  As you can see, the payoff is worth it.