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This article traces the various legal incarnations of the intergenerational equity principle. Despite its silent proliferation in international and constitutional laws over the past five decades, the principle dwelled mostly at the margins of inquiry and practice. Recent efforts to counteract global warming have allowed intergenerational claims to gain new traction. Building on a comparison of ten climate-related lawsuits, I analyze the latest advances in the representation, conceptualization, and remediation of future generations’ interests. Against the backdrop of growing willingness to engage with intergenerational disputes, legal decision makers will need to confront two thorny challenges going forward. Firstly, evolving doctrines of extraterritoriality and legal subjecthood increasingly require the protective scope of the principle to extend to foreign citizens and non-human persons. Secondly, awareness of dispersed and interlocked long-term risks may trigger the application of intergenerational doctrines beyond a narrow environmental frame. Grappling with these challenges implicates larger reflections about the role of law in contriving our collective future.
Corporations are notoriously powerful actors in the current configuration of our globalized economy. Their activities play a key role in shaping a new age of ecological precarity—the Anthropocene. Much of this environmental damage occurs in cross-border settings, hampering victims’ access to legal remedies due to widespread corporate impunity and institutional hurdles in host states. Several transnational lawsuits have recently tested the willingness of European home state judiciaries to adjudicate the extraterritorial conduct of domestic corporations. To contribute to a more nuanced understanding of this novel phenomenon, this article analyzes three legal sagas from a comparative perspective: Vedanta v. Lungowe (England & Wales), Dooh v. Shell (The Netherlands) and Lliuya v. RWE (Germany). It argues that transnational tort suits remain a problematic vehicle for the attainment of procedural and substantial environmental justice. The inherent limitations of tort law, extra-legal hurdles to transnational litigation, and the socio-cultural contingency of legal institutions severely circumscribe the space for legal contestations of the corporate Anthropocene.
Hospitalized patients placed in isolation due to a carrier state or infection with resistant or highly communicable organisms report higher rates of anxiety and loneliness and have fewer physician encounters, room entries, and vital sign records. We hypothesized that isolation status might adversely impact patient experience as reported through Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, particularly regarding communication.
Retrospective analysis of HCAHPS survey results over 5 years.
A 1,165-bed, tertiary-care, academic medical center.
Patients on any type of isolation for at least 50% of their stay were the exposure group. Those never in isolation served as controls.
Multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for age, race, gender, payer, severity of illness, length of stay and clinical service were used to examine associations between isolation status and “top-box” experience scores. Dose response to increasing percentage of days in isolation was also analyzed.
Patients in isolation reported worse experience, primarily with staff responsiveness (help toileting 63% vs 51%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.77; P = .0009) and overall care (rate hospital 80% vs 73%; aOR, 0.78; P < .0001), but they reported similar experience in other domains. No dose-response effect was observed.
Isolated patients do not report adverse experience for most aspects of provider communication regarded to be among the most important elements for safety and quality of care. However, patients in isolation had worse experiences with staff responsiveness for time-sensitive needs. The absence of a dose-response effect suggests that isolation status may be a marker for other factors, such as illness severity. Regardless, hospitals should emphasize timely staff response for this population.
The vertebral column of Scutisorex somereni (the hero shrew), and its size and morphology, is probably the most modified among the vertebrates (Kingdon, 1974). We examined the scaling of diameter versus length in the long bones and ribs, and spine mass versus body mass of this species, in comparison to 19 other mammalian taxa (including fossorial species). The ribs of Scutisorex are significantly more robust than any genus examined, and the spine of this species, relative to its body mass, is four times more robust than that reported for any other vertebrate. Paradoxically, the long bones of the limbs of Scutisorex demonstrate no difference in robustness from that predicted for an animal of its body mass. There is no satisfactory ecological, behavioural, or functional explanation for this unique spinal morphology.
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