A man in his 90s became very ill and was brought to the hospital by ambulance. The emergency room physician called and asked me to admit the patient to the intensive care unit. I was upstairs in the hospital.
December arrives under honking Geese. As the last dying leaves find their way to the ground, frost tints the mornings, snow flurries lick the landscape, and Orion rises before bedtime. Holiday gatherings have begun. Time away from work and school might not allow us a whole day for reflection. But we might each find at least a moment of reverie or pause.
Last week we saw a domestic national news cycle dominated by the "glitches" that derailed the launch of the web-based exchanges where uninsured American people and their small business employers can shop for private health insurance. This week, as stories about private health insurance continue to dominate the headlines, the term "single payer" has bobbed up with increasing frequency.
Today, commentator Dr. Andrew Coates discusses the glitches plaguing the Affordable Care Act website.
When I was young I worked as a carpenter's helper here in rural upstate New York. The man I worked for, a treasure of local lore is someone who possesses generous good humor and a gift for analogy. On ladders and roofs, in the back road truck journeys to our jobs and at the sawhorses we would debate the big questions of life and also share the most pedestrian observations about farm and family life.
The government shutdown and the disconnect on health care By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P.
I’d like to offer some thoughts this week about the discussion over health care in Washington. We’re heading into the second week of the federal government shutdown, in which the right wing of Congress has demanded that President Obama step back from his health reform.
This reveals to me the shocking disconnect between the center-stage discussion in Washington and the everyday discussion we have at our kitchen tables, at our jobs, and with our friends.
Influenza rocked our community hospital for weeks this winter just as the first snowstorms came. Our hospital medicine service was swamped with patients. I was working the night shift.
One emergency physician dramatically recounted how a queue of ambulances had clogged the parking lot. Once all of the emergency department beds, hallway spaces, and waiting room seats were taken, patients waited outside in ambulances. With the usual triage system in gridlock, he had climbed into ambulances one by one to help triage or stabilize patients.
We physicians earn a place in society that yields great scientific and human insight, the impact of illness upon individual lives. Yet we are encouraged by forces inside and outside our profession to look away from the big picture.
A long time ago when I was about to apply to medical school and struggling with college courses in organic chemistry and calculus and the like, a friend pointedly mocked my desire to become a physician.