Sunday, September 04, 2011

House, M.D. vs. Reality - Genetic Privacy

House, MD is over the top most of the time... yet it does make good points sometimes, often by negative example.

The implications of genetic testing is one example. When 13 was struggling with whether or not to be tested for the Huntington's Disease gene that destroyed her mother, House started to step all over her right to make her own decision. Her pain and anger and confusion helped illustrate the vital issues involved.

One interesting point: the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (known as GINA) provides special protection against discrimination and other problems for people based on the results of genetic tests, but equally powerful information that is discovered through other means is not given the same status. For instance, insurance companies are banned from using the results of genetic test to deny someone life insurance; but they are perfectly free to use cholesterol tests or other medical exams to predict someone might have a short life span and so deny coverage.

Odd how we make distinctions between different types of predictive medical testing.

See the full discussion in Chapter 6 of "House, M.D. vs. Reality".

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