Archive for February, 2010

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Tort Reform

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Supreme Court of the State of Illinois struck down tort reform more than a week ago. There are several ramifications which doctors and patients in Illinois should understand.
• Illinois will now move from one of the 5 most dangerous states in the union in which to practice medicine to the most dangerous state
• Physicians will resume their egress from the state and within the next several years there will be a noticeable shortage of physicians: first obstetricians and neurosurgeons, then family practice and internal medicine.
• Health care will be provided by paramedical trained people and this will accelerate the replacement of physicians with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Diagnostic decisions will be made by professionals with 2-6 years of training in medicine and virtually no basic science background.
• The anger and bias of citizen against citizen will be promoted and more acts of intolerance in the name of social justice will be perpetuated
• The divisiveness between the Democratic and Republican parties will continue and neither party feels they have anything to gain by promoting a common good.
• Heed Evan Bayh’s words: There is no co-operation or cohesiveness in Congress. Neither is there a will to promote the welfare of the country; there is plenty of enmity and irrational partisanship
• Politicians realize more than ever that the main purpose of their position in government is to get re-elected. To that end some will inflame any contingency that supports a radical agenda.
• The Trial Lawyers’ Association, representing just 20% of attorneys in the country, has solidified its hold on federal and state government and the conduct of the judiciary in the State of Illinois.
• Philosophically this will promote subsequent generations’ attitudes to not accept responsibility for their actions. By blaming someone(s) else for consequences there is little incentive to change behavior.

My wife won’t let me have lunch with Liv Ullman

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

My wife won’t let me have lunch with Liv Ullman. At least she won’t facilitate my having lunch with Liv Ullman. My wife is Swedish. Liv Ullman is Norwegian (almost the same). We will be visiting Swedish friends outside of Nice next summer. Liv Ullman lives outside of Nice. I have asked my wife to call her best friend to find someone who knows Liv Ullman and to invite her to have lunch with me. My wife laughs. Maybe she is jealous! I really don’t know. But Liv Ullman is 70 and I am 65 and sometime in the future we will be dead and I won’t be able to have lunch with Liv Ullman so I need to do this now.
Suffice it to say I am infatuated with Liv Ullman. How many dreams, how many memories do each of us put away, put off, hoping that by serendipity one or more of them will come true. What we do pursue may happen. What we do not pursue almost for sure will not happen. At the very least we can each put ourselves in a position that something good can happen, or that something we want to experience will be there to allow us to interact.
Being a doctor is like that. I meet people from so many walks of life: rich and poor, famous and infamous; artists and trades-people. I have a woman patient who is attractive and svelt and operates heavy machinery at construction sites. I have met professional athletes from many countries, some highly educated, others not. All of my patients have a different experience, a different perspective on life than I do. In fact, I can say that every person I have met who may or may not read this blog has been a fascinating person for me to meet.
I watched Liv Ulman being interviewed. She said that for the drama of life to unfold each of us has to allow ourselves of us to keep our fantasy, our view of ourselves, our view of the world, our view of each other. She calls this acceptance. She paraphrased Tennessee Williams in saying that if the characters in a play recognized each other the play would never have occurred. She made a plea not to crush someone else’s fantasy.
Yet often that is what I do professionally. I crush people’s fantasies. I tell them their hair styles are not becoming, their make-up is too gauche, their waistline is greater than they think and they keep wearing their pants lower and lower. I tell women they look like men as they age and I tell men that when they are naked they don’t appear as powerful as when they are wearing a suit. I might feel bad about all of this except that I also promote other fantasies. I tell my patients that they can be anyone they want to be if they are willing to work for it. I tell them if they will leave the comfort zone of Kabuki make-up they might feel as attractive as they would otherwise look. I tell them that by walking 4 miles outdoors daily they will wash away many of the troubles of their day and they may self- actualize. Also they will lose weight. I tell teenagers and college students that they won’t have to search for a job if they will learn another language. I tell them that a degree in communication is a euphemism for learning how to talk, and I expect it is a given that someone with a college degree can speak. I tell them that a degree in marketing is a job description for Barnum and Bailey Circus and if they want to make a difference they need to create something or help someone instead of selling a nameless item in return for an ill-begot salary. I tell them there is a fabulous world out there waiting to embrace them but they must travel and think of goals to achieve. Most of all, I say that each day is a blessing to be lived with awareness.