I attended a medical staff meeting recently. These are required meetings and attendance is taken, as was done when we were in kindergarten. While some folks are interested in these meetings' content, many are not and simply sign the attendance sheet and then slither out in a stealth fashion. Sly doctors grab their pagers and then leave hurriedly pretending that they were summoned to an urgent medical situation, when they are actually heading for Starbucks.
This week I promised you specific examples of dumb rules that we doctors must comply with. Here are just a few. There are enough ridiculous regulations to fill multiple blogs devoted only to this issue posting hourly around the clock. Yeah, I sound a mite cranky now. The truth is that I still enjoy the work of doctoring. I love my time with my patients. There is, however, an increasing burden of stuff thrust upon us that takes time, energy and money away from our healing mission. Perhaps, these regs are solving someone's problem somewhere. I suppose that this should comfort me knowing that somewhere in a government cubicle, a bureaucrat is smiling.
Cleveland and northeast Ohio are not hospitable to private practice medicine. I should know. I'm one of them. Private practice is fading as health care reform suffocates it by design. When this occurs, the public will have lost physicians who, in my view, have practiced patient advocacy and service at a higher level than our employed counterparts. Keep in mind that the first half of my professional career was spent as an employed physician and the latter half as a private practitioner. So, I know the advantages and drawbacks of each model first hand. Of course, there are employed physicians who are outstanding doctors and private practitioners who are not, but I maintain that a physician who owns his business has a stronger incentive to provide excellent service to patients and to referring physicians.
I'm sitting in a Starbucks now pleased that I found one of the few plush purple chairs to sink into. While this is not my regular coffee haunt, I will patronize them at times. I cannot drink their high octane coffee and will order some milder tasting overpriced beverage instead.
I don't come here for their food and drink. I come in spite of them. I buy a drink and consider this my rent for the time and space.
I am put off that one can't use traditional English when requesting a specific beverage size here. Is there something wrong with the conventional terms small, medium and large? You won't hear me utter the highfalutin descriptions tall, grande or vente. If I want a medium hot chocolate, my usual purchase, then those will be my chosen words.
I am a physician who writes and I think that more of my colleagues should do so. Not because, we are such skilled wordsmiths or understand plot and characterization. We don't. But, we confront the human condition every day. We see pain and struggle and fear and rebirth. We have much to share.
Beyond my own profession, I think everyone should write, because everyone has something important to say and to share.
To paraphrase an old Pete Seeger song, where has all the writing gone? Long time past seen. I long for longhand. I plead for paper. I pine for a pen.
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