Carl Elliott

Carl Elliott teaches at the University of Minnesota and is the author of White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine.

The Mild Torture Economy: Clinical Trials

Carl Elliott, 23 September 2010

The last few years haven’t been the best for the business of medical research. There was the Sanofi-Aventis researcher in California who was arrested waving a loaded handgun; police found a package of cocaine stuffed in his underwear. There was the psychiatric researcher in Oklahoma City whose medical licence was suspended after he infected two patients with genital herpes, and who was...

Scrivener’s Palsy: take the red pill

Carl Elliott, 8 January 2004

“The benefits of getting an RSI diagnosis are plain enough: a medical excuse from the obligation to work (often at jobs that were repetitive, boring and porrly paid) and financial compensation for a workplace injury. Not that this made life rosy for RSI sufferers in Australia. The diagnosis was hotly contested, and its sufferers often stigmatised. As with many other contested disorders . . . RSI eventually became part of a social movement in which sufferers banded together in solidarity. When a conference on RSI called ‘Medical Mythology’ was organised in Sydney in 1985, it was picketed by women in arm splints carrying protest banners.”

Diary: The Ethics of Bioethics

Carl Elliott, 28 November 2002

At dinner after a recent meeting about ethics and genetics, a guest told me that he had never been to a conference of bioethicists before. The person next to him sat up straight, as if insulted, and said: ‘But I’m not a bioethicist.’ They turned to me. ‘Don’t look at me,’ I said. ‘I’m no bioethicist.’ We asked the other guests at the...

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