Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
- stop smoking
- lose weight
- eat less saturated fat
- wash your hands
- schedule your mammogram
- get a colonoscopy
A 22-year-old woman was in my office yesterday. She has a 1.5-year-old baby, lives with her own mother, is on state-benefits. The infant's father lives in the next town over, works, and had asked to marry her. She said, "I'm thinking of going back to school at some point"... "so, I'm not ready yet."But is her baby ready, yet? Children in married households have more resources, not just physical resources, but emotional, instructional, and familial. In this case we're not talking just about the patient's health, harmful activity avoidance and longevity; but, in the long-run, probably those of the offspring as well.
Postscript: this note was partly inspired by the occasion of the visit of the 22-year-old quoted above. She was in for a visit to "meet the doctor". She had a little bit of back pain and a fair amount of obesity, which we addressed with standard medical advice. It was during this visit that I tried the "health intervention" advice of suggesting to this young lady to consider the beneficial social and general health aspects of solidifying her ongoing relationship with the child's father. She seemed to acknowledge this and consider it in a reasonable fashion, and we had what I had thought was a productive conversational visit. She called a couple of days later announcing she will never be coming back, so perhaps take what I say above with a grain of salt until this concept percolates through to society with the same weight and force of other standard medical advice dicta, or don't attempt this until many visits have transpired.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
First of all doctors (or, in their tadpole-form: medical students ;-) ) should be welcome to have whatever political opinion they choose, not be funneled or channeled into some predilection of a particular power-elite du jour; nor by similar justifications be given preferential (ab initio) medical school admission.
Medical school should be about teaching medicine, and the techniques and science behind it. If and when there are strong compelling political arguments of the day (i.e. always), let's not presume patients are ignorant, and let's not presume patients, when they are having (say) their diabetes treated need to hear our political points of view. Certainly if they ask, we are welcome to supply our own opinions but emphasizing that it is merely just that: our own opinions.
When someday you or I get old (you first please), and need a cataract removed. I hope that the doctor with laser or blade in hand got to that position directly above the waiting eyeball not because of affirmative action, social justice, political opinion, or anything but competence, knowledge, and expertise.
Ironically, just earlier today, I was reading a great post by Thomas Sowell: Using words to confuse , wherein he touches on the concept that "social justice" may be neither very socially redeeming, nor very just.
Warm, fuzzy words and phrases have an enormous advantage in politics. None has had such a long run of political success as "social justice." The idea cannot be refuted because it has no specific meaning. Fighting it would be like trying to punch the fog. No wonder "social justice" has been such a political success for more than a century... There is a strong sense that it is simply not right – that it is unjust – that some people are so much better off than others.... Is the person who has spent years in school goofing off, acting up or fighting – squandering ...dollars ...spent on his education – supposed to end up with his income aligned with that of the person who spent those same years studying to acquire knowledge and skills that would later be valuable to himself and to society at large?
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Massachusetts Medical Pharmaceutical "Gift Ban" ---------------- An argument for the the return of the medical informational dinner------------------
- Doctors are clearheaded enough to eat a meal and then still think through to the best medication choice.
- Do politicians hold themselves to this same standard? Are politicians willing to give up their lobbyist-paid occasions?
- These medications have passed FDA-scrutiny, a very high bar.
- Lectures are sponsored by competitors within a given pharmaceutical class, so doctors are likely to hear many different perspectives.
- Lectures won't be the sole place that doctors get information, with sophisticated knowledge-database availabilities currently.
- In fact the lectures barely even mention the product and are well-balanced, given by the "thought leaders" who don't want to seem beholden to a pharmaceutical company.
- It is a competitive world and Massachusetts needs to keep attracting the best doctors. Many doctors don't appreciate losing the collegial atmosphere of sponsored functions.
- Your work and effort is needed to repeal this "gift ban". Please e-mail as below.