Just because it's unusual doesn't make it a bad idea, A warning sign of domestic violence, Greed is the causeof our problems, Three stocks no doctor should hold
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I was amused to see one of my practice's marketing campaigns labeled as "inappropriate" in the sidebar to "Lead patients to your door" [July 26]. You described itsomewhat inaccuratelyas a series of ads featuring photos of a doctor's family members with the caption, "Go to Dr. Smith because he's a great guy."
Far from being a sign of desperation, the ads gained a huge following. Many people told us they looked forward to the ad each week and were disappointed when we decided to end the promotion. Most importantly, the ads brought us many new patients who were glad to find a doctor with a strong sense of family . . . and humor.
Your "Malpractice Consult" columnist suggests that documenting a female patient's waiver of her right to confidentiality when a spouse is present in the exam room will protect you from charges of violating patient privacy, [July 12]. It may well protect you, but it does nothing to protect the patient.
One of the hallmarks of domestic violence is a husband who insists on being in the exam room with his wife. If she doesn't speak up to object, she implicitly waives her right to privacy, according to your article. Nevertheless, any physician who understands the intimidation tactics of domestic abuse realizes she may have granted "permission" only under duress.
The physician or a female staff member needs to get the patient alone long enough to determine what privacy concerns she may have, as well as whether she is subject to violence and abuse.
As we bemoan the state of the medical profession, it might be well to remember history. The healing arts began as quasi-religious endeavors. Hospital names like Presbyterian, St. Joseph's, and Miriam attest to this fact.
But as our profession marched toward secularization, materialism replaced the ideal of love and service in the name of God. We gradually sacrificed the service of human need to human greed, and finally forfeited our last claim to legitimacy when the first doctor signed a contract accepting payment from a third party rather than from the patient himself.
The most materialistically banal, ruthless, and avaricious people I have ever known now work in the medical field as administrators, investors, bureaucratsand physicians. This is the reason for the sorry state of health care today. As the comic strip character Pogo put it, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
It was improper to recommend Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., and Schering-Plough as the "Three bargain stocks to grab and hold" ["Investment Consult," July 26]. We, who reach frequently for the prescription pad, should have scruples against investing in drug companies.
George Ellis, MD
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