Letters to the Editors
Ran D. Anbar, MD (above)
I read with great compassion the article by pediatric pulmonologist RanAnbar about how a set tlement made without his consent landed him in theNational Practitioner Data Bank ["My name shouldn't be in the malpracticedata bankbut it is," Oct. 11]. He was absolutely correct in his medicaland legal efforts, but being much his senior, I can assure him that failurewas guaranteed. The law is faulty; doctors always get the shaft.
Our only defense is to get every doctor listed in the National PractitionerData Bank and render it valueless. It would become just another Who's Whoin Medicine.
Floyd Brown, DO
Estill Springs, TN
Cardiologist Charles Bertrand suggests that the present system of selectingjudges and juries for medical malpractice trials should be changed ["Wantto fix the malpractice mess? Start with judges," Sept. 6].
Surprisingly, he ignores the most inefficient, costly, and embarrassingfeature of the present system: the pitting of opposing experts in frontof a befuddled judge and jury. Creating panels of experts who would educatethe judge and juryindependently of the attorneys who pay their feesisa better idea than changing the time-honored jury system.
Isaac Azar, MD
New York Cityiazar@bethisraelny.org
As an internist in private practice, I must respond to Francis Toscano,the emergency physician who whines about treating uninsured patients [Lettersto the Editors, Sept. 20].
He implies that private practice physicians receive subsidies, that is,benefits such as tax funding, hospital stipends, charitable donations, andsupport from the local medical society. I receive none of these, yet I seemy share of uninsured patients.
Toscano may not be aware of it, but he receives a substantial subsidyfromhis hospital. He's provided a rent-free place to work, assistance from nurseswhose salaries are paid by the hospital, and transcription services fromhospital employees. I pay my employees' health, life, and disability insurance,plus their holidays, sick days, and office and medical supplies. This hasdriven my overhead to 60 percent, yet I perform complete physicals for lessthan what most ER physicians charge to treat a sore throat.
Christine E. Henry, MD
In a sidebar accompanying your earnings survey, you feature Martin Serota,an internist who manages a 19-physician practice part time and "stillfinds time for 5,000 patient visits a year" ["Doctors' earningsmake a stride," Sept. 20]. That means he's missing potentially 1,000patient visits a year, and losing about $65,000 in practice income.
The group could hire a full-time professional manager for $65,000someonewho would make decisions based on cost benefits, not just on costs.The scary thing is that Serota thinks he's saving money, when actually bothhe and the practice are losing thousands of dollars a year.
J. Warren Berry
Cornerstone Medical Center