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The House-Call: Physician Laments The Passing Of The Good Old Days

Nostalgia for the house-call

Not too long ago, I made a house call. As a physician accustomed to working in the emergency department of a hospital, this was quite a change of pace. But it involved dear friends and their sick child, and it was a joy. We had spoken on the phone and I had some concerns about their infant, who was stricken with a high fever. When I went to their home I took only my stethoscope. That and my experience as a physician and parent of four.

When I walked through the door on Friday evening there were candles burning as dinner was prepared. There were no florescent lights. There was none of the chaos of a waiting room. No ambulances idled outside. No bloody, angry drunk screamed profanities. No one was stood by their exam room door, arms crossed in annoyance with waiting. It was a quiet place to be; and the child, on his worried mother’s hip, was quiet as well. He was in a place where he felt safe and was thus able to tolerate my poking and prodding.

I examined him and decided that he was not seriously ill. Because his mother had described him as lethargic when we spoke, I had been concerned that he might have meningitis. This was not actually the case. His parents and I were obviously relieved.

After he was dosed with ibuprofen and put to bed, I chatted a while with his mom and dad, then left for home. As I drove home I realized that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Healthcare Should Be Free – I’m Entitled To It

Why shouldn’t we have to pay for our health care?

Why….we don’t have that sort of money!!!  How dare you even suggest that we should pay!!!!

We manage to buy cigarettes. We manage to buy fast food.  Often. We manage to get all the channels we want via cable or satellite television. Some of us even have satellite radio in our cars. And GPS.  Our cell phones are really nice, but all that texting costs a pretty penny.   We drop a few bucks at Starbucks every week without thinking twice.

And then we roll our eyes when we have to pay for….god forbid… care!


Think I’m heartless?  Think I’m an elitist?

Think I’m talking about the Medicare patients in my ER who bring in a super-sized number 8 from McDonalds for the entire family and hold out their right arm for a BP while they text rapidly with their left hand?

I could be.

But I’m not.

The patient rolling their eyes at having to pay was me.




Showed up for a colonoscopy yesterday and the receptionist went over what would and would not be covered by my insurance.

My out-of-pocket payment would be $216.

And my first thought was “why the hell am I paying anything out of pocket for this? I have insurance!”

I was ticked.


But why was I ticked?

Why shouldn’t I have to incur out-of-pocket expenses?

I have insurance.  Good insurance. Insurance I don’t pay a single penny for. It’s a benefit I get from my employer for working 24 hours a week.

Did I think I was entitled to full coverage because I was insured?




Isn’t that term used to describe some patients who get their health care for “free” through a public plan?

Well, I get my coverage for “free”, too, and god help me, the emotion I felt in that office yesterday was “entitlement”.

Now I understand.

And I won’t use that term again.


*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

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