Cancer. Just the word is scary. Actually, that’s the problem. Once you say that word, the average American will do anything — ANYTHING! — to just get it out of my body!!! Whether or not they have it, whatever the actual numerical chances of their ever developing it, no chance for detecting or treating it should ever be neglected. EVER! Ask any Med-mal lawyer. Better, ask any twelve average people off the street (i.e., the ones who are going to wind up on a jury). “The doctor didn’t do every possible test/procedure, and now the patient has CANCER? String him up!”
Hence we have the new guidelines for PSA testing. (Given that many patients with prostate cancer have normal PSAs and lots of patients with high PSAs don’t have prostate cancer, it doesn’t seem semantically correct to call it “prostate cancer screening”.) Surprise! Turns out that not only does PSA testing not save lives, but that urologists don’t really care. Certainly not enough to stop recommending PSAs to just about everyone they can get their hands on.
Nor do breast surgeons have any intention of modifying their recommendations, not only in light of new understandings of the limitations of mammography, but even as Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*
You have probably read that experience makes for better doctors.
And of course this would be true–in the obvious ways, like with the hand-eye coordination required to do complex procedures, or more importantly, with the judgment of when to do them.
There’s no news here: everyone knows you want a doctor that’s been out of training awhile, but not so long that they have become weary, close-minded or physically diminished. Just the right amount of experience please.
But there’s also potential downsides and struggles that come with experience. Tonight I would like to dwell on three ways in which experience is causing me angst.
But first, as background…
It was the very esteemed physician-turned-authors, Dr. Groopman and his wife, Dr. Hartzland, who wrote this thought-provoking WSJ essay–on how hidden influences may sway our medical decisions–that got me thinking about how I have evolved as a doctor. They were writing from the perspective of the patient. But in the exam room, there are two parties: patient and doctor.
# 1) The sobering view that experience brings: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
As difficult as it may be for most of his readers to believe, not everyone appreciates the erudite writings or well-reasoned analyses habitually offered up herein by DrRich. And despite the fact that DrRich takes great pains to express himself cordially even when addressing particularly contentious issues, and that he assiduously avoids personal attacks on his opponents, and indeed usually attributes lofty motives to them (focusing instead on their counterproductive methods or naive premises), it is not at all rare for DrRich to be the recipient of some rather negative, even personally hostile, communications.
And of all the topics likely to engender such negative feedback, none gets a more vociferous response than this: DrRich’s contention that among the many mandatory features that will necessarily comprise any Progressive healthcare system, the most obligatory, compulsory, requisite and non-negotiable of all will be the imperative to forbid individuals from having any meaningful control over their own healthcare destiny.
There are two basic reasons individual autonomy in healthcare must be stifled. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*