Archive for March 22nd, 2004

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Bad Medicine

Read Gina Colata’s front-page article in the New York Times, New Studies Question Value of Opening Arteries. Money quote:

The study “caused an uproar,” Dr. Waters said. “We were saying that atherosclerosis is a systemic disease. It occurs throughout all the coronary arteries. If you fix one segment, a year later it will be another segment that pops and gives you a heart attack, so systemic therapy, with statins or antiplatelet drugs, has the potential to do a lot more.” But, he added, “there is a tradition in cardiology that doesn’t want to hear that.”

There is a type of person who’s attracted to the medical profession because of parental pressure, its aura of prestige, and its potential for lucre. Some of those who do become doctors also convince themselves that they “know better”, and that the patient is wrong to ask questions or even to show doubt.

My experience with a bad doctor several years ago was such that now, as a matter of principle I will ask any question, whether the doctor likes it or not, and will do my best to inform myself as fully as possible on what my alternatives are. If the doctor is uncomfortable with a patient that is willing to learn and actively participate in her care, I am changing doctors.

My thanks to the New York Times for placing that article on the front page. A doctor who’s wrong, no matter how wrong, is only wrong, but the patient is dead.

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Shorter, but still hairy

Two articles from Friday:

“Council cuts back on big borough tax hike: Increase is trimmed down to 14 cents”: the Borough’s $21.8 million budget means “$486 more in taxes, an increase of nearly 20% over 2003″. On Sunday, March 14 I had mentioned that the average tax increase was estimated at $700. No joy in reporting either; mismanagement and overspending continue.

“Bigger Library will charge larger user and late fees”: the Library’s $3.7 million budget is short $50,000 “because a request for municipal support for new books was dropped”. Imagine that. We also lean that the Library will soon be accepting credit cards: “While the library would have to pay for the service, it would save on staff time devoted to counting and rolling lots of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies every night”., said the Library’s executive director.

What do you say the library gets a CoinStar machine in the lobby so the public can use it, and the Library can save itself credit card transaction and service fees, and staff time? CoinStar even offers a Coins That Count program for supporting non-profits. Even the Tooth Fairy knows about CoinStar.