Friday, August 31, 2012

Promoting a Different Kind of Doctor

I came to work this morning and found some muffins and cookies left on our break room table.  Many of our staff  leave home early to get to the hospital so that patients are ready to go for their first procedure.  Many miss breakfast or just don't bother.  No doubt those folks are just as pleasantly surprised as I was to find these treats lying there.

But unlike me,they knew who brought the goods.  It was a doctor, one they work with day in and day out who does this almost every Friday. 

There has been much said about nasty interventional cardiologists in the media recently.  For a while, there never seemed to be a day when a greedy cardiologist or other physician who over-tested, over-treated, placed patients at risk for their on benefit, and spent too much money appeared.  In fact, it's gotten so bad that even our own societies have joined the fray willingly, developing "appropriate use" guidelines for everything we do, lest some bureaucratic authority step in instead. (News flash: it will probably happen anyway).

To be fair, there are times when we do test too often.  These procedures are how doctors live and defensive medicine is practiced after all.  But we should also acknowledge that there are far more decent, hard-working, and thoughtful physicians (including interventional cardiologists) in America that you will never hear about because they aren't as newsworthy to talk about.

But rest assured, this is the kind of guy who's much more likely to treat you when you need your stent at 3 am.



Anonymous said...

I listened to the NYTimes health podcast the other day talk about over testing, and they didn't mention malpractice or defensive medicine once. wtf?

Anonymous said...

One of my "favorite" phone calls is from the ER when a patient of mine presents with shortness of breath or chest pain. The impugning tone of the ER docs voice when he says "they haven't had an echo in two years or a stress test in four years" pretty much sums up your argument.

The take home: good docs do frequent testing. The corollary is that frequent testing prevents hospitalizations.