AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. November 2008, Volume 10, Number 11.

Ethics Poll

Does Prevention Have Limits?

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

West Virginia has a pilot Medicaid program that gives enhanced benefits (e.g., weight-loss programs, chemical-dependency treatment, diabetes-management classes, and waiver of the cap on prescription-drug reimbursement) to patients who keep appointments, take their medications, and follow health-improvement plans. Patients who do not adhere to those specifications have to pay for the enhanced benefits. Which of the following best states what you think about this pilot "wellness promotion" plan?
Extremely traumatic events are thought to stimulate a large release of neurotransmitters, which produces a heightened, ongoing response to the memory of the event. Studies have shown that traumatized patients who take the beta-blocker propranolol have fewer symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder than those who receive a placebo. Once treatment with propranolol is proven safe and effective, how would you feel about the possibility of preventing chronic symptoms in response to traumatic events by altering the memory of them pharmacologically?
Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of our readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.