Doctors and Columnists

From Dr. Mercola:

A recent survey of more than 1,000 future doctors studying at eight American medical schools was disappointing to say the least. By the numbers:

* Respondents received at least one gift or were invited to a sponsored event every week.
* Almost half of the students had received textbooks as gifts.
* Some 80 percent of third-year students believed they were entitled to gifts from drug companies.

This came to me while I did temp work at a local medical center. Pharmaceutical reps regularly called doctors and offered $100 for them to take a 15 minute phone survey. Many of the med students I worked with had received all sorts of academic aids from these companies; indeed, many of the reps knew students on a firstname basis.

I don’t necessarily condemn this practice; after all, med school is very expensive. And free drug samples can allow doctors to circumvent the HMO’s. On the other hand, the U.S. has a take-a-pill mentality instead of modify-your-lifestyle type of lifestyle. The doctors i have encountered are often cynical about human nature; here’s an exercise/diet regimen, but because we lack the confidence in your ability to maintain it, here’s a prescription to take just in case.

My dad takes about 10 different types of medication, and my mother takes several, so one wonders whether the costs of them actually bring benefits (and whether doctors can anticipate drug interactions). When doctors’ visits are so expensive, patients are less likely to tell doctors about problems/complications except when absolutely necessary.

Now that the NYT columnists are locked down, let me recommend some other sources of commentary: Commondreams, Tapped, DemocracyArsenal, China Digital Times, Hit & Run, and believe it or not, my local paper. Most of these have a leftward lean, though not tremendously so.

From thismodernworld, an absurdity

(quoting NYT) Grover Norquist, a leading advocate of substantially reducing the federal government, argued that the disaster only underlined the need for more tax cuts to spur the economy. “Step one is you deal with the problem – rebuild New Orleans,” he said, “and step two, you enact economic policies so you can afford to rebuild New Orleans.”

(George Saunders comments:) You can apply the GOP two-step approach to your personal finances as well. Step one is to spend a ton of money on everything you’ve ever wanted. Step two is to get a ton of money so you can afford all the things you’ve already bought. It’s easy and there’s no way it could possibly backfire.