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Showing posts from May, 2013

Freedom Is Not Free

I have enormous respect for the military who have suffered the highest costs of protecting the freedoms that we often take for granted.  I have never served, but these men and women serve me and the rest of us every day. The Whistleblower blog is not an anonymous samizdat, such as was present in the former USSR.  I criticize the president openly under my own name.  Those who challenge governments in other countries risk imprisonment or worse. To those who protect our freedoms to write, speak, assemble, pray and criticize our leaders, please accept our collective endless gratitude, knowing that it will never be sufficient for what you have done and will do for us.

Do Physicians Lie?

Yes.  Professions that heretofore enjoyed public admiration for pursuing noble work and reputedly insisting on the highest ethical standards have been exposed.  The Catholic Church could write a few blog posts on this.   Police officers, journalists and even teachers have also shown us that they are members of the human species and are subject to its weaknesses and frailties. George Washington Cannot Tell a Lie The fallacy is to expect certain professions and professionals to be more irreproachable than the rest of us.  We are all vulnerable to experiencing a fall from grace.  Staying straight and true is a struggle, at least for me.  Yes, physicians lie.  Sometimes, we rationalize a falsehood because it serves a patient’s interest.  We 'adjust' a diagnosis so that the medical test is covered by insurance.  Explain to me please why this is not stealing?  Is this different than shoplifting?   Why should the offense change depending upon who the victim is?   Many

Government Wants Patients to Report Medical Mistakes - Is This a Mistake?

I’m all for enhancing patient safety.  Count me in on reducing medical errors.  I acknowledge that medical mistakes harm patients and many can be prevented.  The medical profession should promulgate and support any initiative that accomplishes these objectives. The public has become suspicious of the medical community who seem to circle the wagons when external scrutiny of its actions is threatened.  Yes, sunlight is the best disinfectant, but many of these shining lights are murky shadows that do not illuminate as intended. Murky Sunlight Copyright Christopher Down The government and insurance companies are now providing financial penalties if certain medical quality benchmarks are not met.  While this sounds attractive and overdue when it is expressed in a headline or a slogan, the true motivations and capability of these efforts have been questioned.  Is it really about safety?  I have tried to expose throughout this blog the fallacy that the medical malpractice syst

New Indication for Colonoscopy: High Value Target Captured.

This past week, I had a once-in-a-career event.  Indeed, if I didn’t already author a blog, this episode would have been the catalyst to begin one.   As I write this, I am not certain which category label to assign to this post.  I will likely include it in General Whistleblowing rather than create a new category called Search and Rescue. Gastroenterologists are not just healers of the alimentary canal.  Yes, we are consumed with issues of mastication, salivation, rumination, trituration (GI power word), secretion, digestion, propulsion and elimination.  But, we are so much more than this.  We are poised to serve humanity in so many ways beyond medicine.    The colonoscope is mankind’s Holy Grail.  Please study the photograph below carefully.  When we were medical students peering at a chest x-ray while the attending physician hovered behind us, we were told that “the answer is on the film”.  Of course, we always missed the diagnosis.  We would focus on the heart and lung