8 Comments


  • Maybe not for long?

    I don’t know the other two doctors you mention, but Lewis Thomas came of age in a very different world than what we have now. I’m wondering if the demise of the GP, increasing specialization, managed care programs, and the pressure on doctors to spend less time with actual patients, will change that. How many doctors nowadays will spend their careers treating a broad spectrum of humanity? Versus performing the same few operations on anonymous patients who have good enough health care to afford them?

    Or perhaps nurse practitioners will start writing good books? 🙂

    April 19, 2004
  • Re: Maybe not for long?

    Well, the range of patients doctors see is just one factor (I was careful not to say that doctors were better people, or more altruistic than lawyers). Specialization is an issue, as is the availability of insurance and access to health care, no doubt about it.

    By the way, The New York Times Magazine was devoted to health care this week, and two stories are germane: The End of Primary Care (As recently as a decade ago, generalists, not specialists, were going to change medicine. Then H.M.O.’s changed everything.); and The Writing Cure (Can understanding narrative make you a better doctor?).

    Perri Klass, M.D., was the Vital Signs columnist for Discover Magazine for several years. Her excellent book A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student is not just a window into the world of medicine, but a window into the psyche of the doctor in training. Klass has also published other books on medicine, at least one novel and a collection of short stories.

    Atul Gawande, M.D., is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. His book Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science was published in 2002.

    April 19, 2004
  • Anonymous

    I find the following line of questioning quite offensive while visiting a new doctor:

    “Name?”
    “Type of insurance?”
    “OK, what seems to be your problem.”

    Dr. McCoy never asked about insurance.

    Bill

    April 19, 2004
  • You got it, mister. Though I cannot agree with the premise that doctors might be smarter: Recently read a report (Science News?) that claims people in professions ranging from the most menial to the most complex tend to have the same range of smarts as the others. The education, socialization, and motives probably are more at cause, and of course the need to win vs. the urge to help. Well, and to rake in the buckies, too.

    Chris

    April 19, 2004
  • With the Fleet

    Well, McCoy was a ship’s surgeon: if you join the Navy all your health care will be free. Besides, I’m not sure I want to be treated by a guy in powder blue velour pajamas who has a drinking problem.

    April 20, 2004
  • Who’s Smart?

    Yeah, I guess that kind of begs the question of what intelligence is. (Not to mention grammar.)

    April 20, 2004
  • Re: Who’s Smart?

    You mockin’ my grammar, mister? Huh? Well then.

    Chris

    April 20, 2004
  • Re: Who’s Smart?

    No! I was mocking my grammar. Especially since I was spouting off about intelligence.

    April 20, 2004

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