Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

“Medical Self-Care” And The Doc Tom Interview

Next in our series of posts about our founder Doc Tom. Previous time capsules: 1980 and 1985.

Come, ye economics buffs and algebra fans: Get out your pencils and solve for x, n, and XX:

Whatever else the year 19XX is remembered for, it will — without a doubt — go down in history as a record year for medical expenses here in the United States. All indications are that before the calendar year is out, Americans will have spent $x (n% of the Gross National Product) on drugs, X-rays, surgery, physicians’ fees, laboratory tests, hospital overhead, health insurance, etc. That’s up from the [$0.3x] ([.7n%] of GNP) just 13 years ago.

Clearly, the medical establishment has become a threat to the average American’s budget (if not his health).

Ready? That was…1978. Check the tiny numbers:

Whatever else 1978 is remembered for, it will—without a doubt—go down in history as a record year for medical expenses here in the United States. All indications are that before the calendar year is out, 216 million Americans will have spent $139 billion (8.6% of the Gross National Product) on drugs, X-rays, surgery, physicians’ fees, laboratory tests, hospital overhead, health insurance, etc. That’s up from the $39 billion (5.9% of GNP) medical care cost in 1965 . . . just 13 years ago.

Tom Ferguson was a medical student, and in the self-reliant era of the Whole Earth Catalog, he saw that patients could help heal healthcare by taking better care of themselves. In 1976 he’d started a magazine called Medical Self-Care. The text above appeared in Mother Earth News in May 1978, as the introduction to an 8,000-word interview with Tom. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at e-Patients.net*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »