Friday, October 21, 2011

Changing Perspectives

Earlier in my medical career, I would have thought this idea was a good one: a little med-alert card a patient could carry in their wallet that would tell people they're on an anticoagulant:

But in the old days, I didn't give much of a thought as to what was printed on the other side of the card:

Now I have to think about if I'm giving away branded marketing material of "value." How much are these cards worth? Will this be considered a "gift" from the drug industry? Will my patients be unnecessarily influenced by industry or might their lives be saved by having such a card?

Worse, I have to wonder if the use of the use of such a card would expose myself to additional liability risks if I did not offer similar cards to my patients on other anticoagulants like warfarin, aspirin, or clopidogrel.

Seems strange, really, because when I first started medicine I never used to think about these things - I just wanted to help my patients.

Now, everything's changed.



Anonymous said...

C'mon, Dr. Wes, this is NOT a REAL problem. Surely you must have many more real problems to worry about than this!

DrWes said...


Yeah, I 'spose. But the fact that we even have to think this way is what bothers me.

Still, I would argue today's virtually unlimited litigation risks remain for physicians - even with something that seems as trivial as offering a med alert card to some patients while not offering them to others.

The fact that doctors have to think like this is VERY real.

Lisa said...

Actually, my son who is a paramedic informed me that no emt or paramedic is going to go through someone's wallet. He also said not to wear a medical alert bracelet either. He said to wear a necklace that they would have to see to place ecg pads. Mine has my name on it, "LQTS, Diabetic call and my three children's phone numbers. See AICE". AICE on my cell phone instructs them to call my children and see the lists stored in the green calendar in my purse. Those little cards would be OK, but they are never looked for.

Tim Hulsey, MD said...

Larry said...
"C'mon, Dr. Wes, this is NOT a REAL problem."
Such an overt display of nescience should be discomfitting.

Symbiosis said...

This is a problem I agree, a large part of our practice seems to revolve around avoiding litigation and thinking about ways to avoid was suppose to be all about medicine and most importantly about the patient...wat happened to that!!

Tim Hulsey, MD said...

Symbiosis said...
"it was suppose to be all about ... the patient"

Self preservation is a basic primal instinct.