Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Do Many Docs Who Get Sued and the President Have In Common

Not a good place to be....
The doctor Disease Management Care Blog has a confession to make: it has read the House of God.  The DMCB's older physician readers will readily recognize the title of this controversial 1970's book and remember the quirky and strangely wise physician Fat Man.  One fav DMCB scene involves a patient who was readmitted with a death sentence diagnosis.  Hours later, the Fat Man and the patient were upstairs in the hospital, playing cards and.... laughing

Such is the art and science of medicine, where one difference between good and not so good physicians hinges on an ability understand the fundamental difference between healing and curing.  Discerning this isn't necessarily a function of intellect: the DMCB has worked with many astonishingly brilliant physicians with a near encyclopedic technical knowledge who have been dismissed by their patients as unfeeling.  In fact, when things don't work out and that expertise is combined with a distant, aloof and humorless demeanor, it's these brainiacs that often end up getting sued.

Which brings the DMCB to the topic of President Obama.  His impressive oratory and technocratic mastery is not only being eclipsed by events outside his control, his sterile and "not-my-fault" dialectic - even if he is ultimately correct - is the sort of behavior that among docs can contribute to angry allegations of "malpractice." Constituents and patients alike need to know that they're not alone in their fear and heartbreak. Ivy leagued advisers and evidence-based medicine are no substitute for being emotionally distant.

Many of Mr. Obama's dimmer predecessors were advantaged by being able to "connect" with their constituents.  It reminds the DMCB of a recent encounter with a doltish State politician: the spouse agreed he was a horse's ass, but hey, he was our horse's ass.

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