“Death in the Family” by Daniel Bergner (The New York Times Magazine, 12/2/07)
“Booth Gardner, a former governor of Washington State who has Parkinson’s, is urgently lobbying for a doctor-assisted-suicide law.” “Gardner’s campaign is a compromise; he sees it as a first step. If he can sway Washington to embrace a restrictive law, then other states will follow. And gradually, he says, the nation’s resistance will subside, the culture will shift and laws with more latitude will be passed…”
Although Louis Pasteur began exploring the role of bacteria and fermentation in spoiling wine during the late 1850s, much of his most important work initiating the germ theory of disease occurred between 1860 and 1865. A few years later, in 1867, the Scottish surgeon Joseph Lister , who apparently had never heard of Semmelweis, elaborated the theory and practice of antiseptic surgery, which included washing the hands with carbolic acid to prevent infection. And in 1876, the German physician Robert Koch successfully linked a germ, Bacillus anthracis, to a specific infectious disease, anthrax.
It's important to note that medication-related mistakes can be made almost anywhere in the supply chain from manufacturer to patient. For example, the drug manufacturer could produce a tainted or unreasonably dangerous medication. A nurse could administer the wrong dosage or drug. A pharmacist could fill out the prescription incorrectly. Or, the patient may bear some amount of fault for not giving the doctor an accurate medical history (., failing to inform the doctor about known allergies or other underlying medical conditions) that would conflict with the medication. In such situations, the doctor may not be liable at all for the patient’s injury.