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More stuff from the New York Times that misses the point

On June 10, 2010, Claire Cain Miller wrote that, “When a doctor recommends a test or a procedure, most patients simply go where the doctor tells them to go.”   Well, not exactly, at least as I see it. It’s more like, “When a doctor recommends a test or a procedure, most patients…ask their doctors who

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The New Medicine—Hospitalists and Telemedicine

So, two things in The New York Times set me off this week. (Actually three. The third was an article about people who start their sentences with the word “so”, but I don’t want to go there.) The first thing that set me off was an article about a hospitalist (by Jane Gross, May 26,

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The Butterfly Effect

According to Sharon Begley and Mary Carmichael in their Newsweek cover story Desperately Seeking Cures, a cornucopia of cures for an infinity of diseases is (or would be) available but for (a) a culture that sets the wrong incentives for academic scientists and (b) a stodgy bureaucracy that does not prioritize urgent needs.  Well, maybe…but

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The Havasupai, Privacy and Medical Research

I learned that the Havasupai of the Grand Canyon recently won a lawsuit against the University of Arizona. They claimed that the university had misused DNA samples that had been obtained from them for what they thought was research on diabetes. And, in fact, the researchers had studied the genetics of diabetes using samples from

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Lowering Health Care Costs

On March 20, 2010, Lesley Alderman published an article in the New York Times quoting the responses of several doctors to the question, How can we lower health care costs. Their answers were very narrow:  insure catastrophic but not minor illness, change malpractice law, counsel nutrition, rely on evidence (don’t order tests you don’t need),

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Health Care Reform Bill

A patient recently sent me the following question: As a doctor who has been working in the system even before Medicare Medicaid, are you for this final draft of the health care bill? Here is part of my answer: To answer your question, yes, I very strongly favor this bill — because I believe that

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Expert Panels and Health Care Reform

A friend recently send me a link to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Norman Gleicher titled 'Expert Panels' Won't Improve Health Care. Here is part of my response:  a) insurance companies all have panels now, but they are secretive, inconsistent, and dedicated to protecting their companies from meeting their contractual obligations  b) government panels

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Michael Jackson, Deepak Chopra, Lupus, and Child Abuse

A patient recently asked me about an article on People Magazine’s website about Deepak Chopra's belief that Michael Jackson had lupus and that this disease was connected to Jackson's childhood abuse. Dr. Chopra cited ‘recent research’ in support of this contention.   Here is some of what I wrote my patient:  The article from the Mailman School

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Evidence-Based Medicine and Chronic Illness

It is a terrific idea to compare effectiveness of treatments for the same illness—if “effectiveness” and “same illness” mean the same to the doctors, the patients, and the payers and patients who will benefit or lose according to the rules that follow. It is a terrific idea if the comparison meets the needs of each

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Medical Care and Doctor Fatigue

Dr. Barron Lerner in the New York Times ("A life-changing case for doctors in training," March 3, 2009) misinterprets the history of Libby Zion and the Bell Commission, and draws the wrong lessons. The concern about medical resident fatigue dates not from the 1984 case but at least as far back as a 1971 study

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