I recently got back from a brief trip to Florida. I went down there to celebrate my mother’s 85th birthday. As you might expect, her social circle has shrunk in recent years, but she did get a number of cards and calls from friends and family members. The cards were on display in her kitchen, and a few calls came in while I was there. One in particular pointed out some ...

Read more...

The U.S. medical malpractice system is broken. It frequently does not punish doctors who need punishing, while levying fines against doctors who did nothing wrong. And this dreadfully inaccurate system still manages to take almost five years, on average, to settle claims. Experts have been promoting a type of reform known as safe harbor rules, which would shield physicians from lawsuits in cases where they were known to be following accepted ...

Read more...

In a recent New Yorker article about him, Dr. Mehmet Oz was paraphrased as saying that “Marcus Welby -- the kindly, accessible, but straight-talking television doctor -- is dead.” If he believes that, Dr. Oz needs to get out of New York. At 51-years-old, I’m a little too young to remember the television show Marcus Welby, M.D, that aired on ABC from 1969 to 1976. A colleague told me the show was pretty schmaltzy ...

Read more...

Earlier, I wrote about the tragic case of a young girl in California who was declared brain dead after what most media sources called a tonsillectomy. In fact, the patient had a much more extensive procedure for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. In addition to having her tonsils removed, she underwent an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and resection (removal) of her inferior nasal turbinate bones. As I stated before, I will not ...

Read more...

shutterstock_146940398 There is, of course, stuff we can chew and swallow that isn't food. Play-Doh comes to mind. As does Silly Putty. My thoughts turned to those substances, among others, when my friends at Time magazine asked me recently to opine on the suggestion that junk foods should carry warning labels. My first inclination was: No, that's too much. But then it dawned on me: Is anything that ...

Read more...

Next in a series. As a patient, you have probably had the experience of meeting a physician for the first time and very quickly becoming comfortable that he or she has your very best interests utmost in mind. The sense comes quickly; you become comfortable, less anxious. Unfortunately you may have had the opposite experience of encountering a well-educated, well-trained physician who, although technically an expert, left you cold. As a ...

Read more...

A woman in her 70s came into my clinic recently. Her primary doc found a mass so she came to the hospital for a biopsy and passed out on the table so they scanned her head and found a mass there, too. She started radiation and then came to meet me in the outpatient clinic. She had trouble expressing herself because she’d had a stroke two decades ago, but it didn’t ...

Read more...

The legislation proposals aimed at allowing physician assistants and nurse practitioners to act independently and deliver primary care services in place of physicians is a change in health care that we may face with an impending primary care physician shortage. It is an important topic for patients and physicians to discuss since ultimately those two groups will be impacted most by this change. Patients should be concerned with the quality ...

Read more...

The key change in medicine that has caused a escalation of costs, a decline in the quality of care, and an increasing shortage of physicians is the shift toward an exclusively business contract with society at the expense of the social contract. To differentiate the business contract from the social contract I will use the following example. One afternoon I see my neighbor hard at work changing her tire. If I ...

Read more...

“Nine of 10 doctors discourage others from joining the profession,” writes Daniela Drake on the Daily Beast. And stats say that by the end of 2014, about 300 physicians will commit suicide. What is going on? A few years back, practicing medicine was named the second-most suicidal occupation. Yet, it hasn’t stopped. The level of sheer unhappiness among physicians is on the rise. Being a doctor has become a humiliating undertaking. There ...

Read more...

Most Popular