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    As the presidential debates get revved up, I have been scrutinizing their health care plans.  Both candidates rightly insist that something must be done to cover the ballooning and exploding population of uninsured in this country.  For both, the solution will likely include a hit to the pocketbook of Joe Public, whether through taxes, or through private insurance companies that we are required to purchase coverage from.  This has the standard libertarian masses quite upset.  One thing I am hearing more and more about in the argument against universal Health care coverage is “those people.” Read the rest of this entry »

Medicine often finds itself in a quandary as a profession.  Like any profession, it offers an important service.  In a sense, patients are customers and consumers.  Physicians do compete to some extent with naturopaths, homeopaths, nutritionists, acupuncturists and all who hawk their latest miracle cure or millennia old natural remedy on late night television infomercials.  We try to separate ourselves out from these with science, evidence base, and therefore increased credibility.  While this credibility is very important to patients, the truth is they just want to feel better.   The conflict is this, as a scientists, doctors are trained to be skeptical of all medical claims so they can be rigorously evaluated.  Yet, as healers, it is critically important to believe that what you are doing is, in fact, best for the patient, as the patient needs to believe in the treatment for it to have any effect as well.  In a very important sense, we have to sell what our recommendation is to the patient.  

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    I am continuing my review of the best blogs mind, body, and soul at least from my perspective.  Doctor blogs have been the subject of controversy with the AMA lately.  There are privacy concerns and concerns about the professionalism of ranting about colleagues or patients in such a public forum.  While these concerns may be valid, this isn’t what I generally see in the blogs, at least not the ones I end up following anyway.  Many, many blogs focus on healthcare and its shortcomings and problems with the system.  These have their place, but for me the very best blogs share the highs and the lows of medicine.  I think the blog format is ideal for sharing the unique experience and point of view that we physicians have.  I think the best blogs humanize the doctor, the patients and in so doing feed the soul.  Here are a few of my favorites- Read the rest of this entry »

Medicine has long had the intuitive goal of preserving life.  It is what medicine is for.  We are historically not the type of people to give up on life.  In our society demographically, lifespans are at an all time high, up from age 40 in 1900 to 79 for women and 74 for men.  Eradication of many childhood diseases through immunization, better care during childbirth, which historically killed one in four women lifetime, and better sanitation have all played a role. 

But medicine and infant mortaility are what have influenced the numbers most.  Read the rest of this entry »

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