The PMD Critical List: The Trust Factor

In this week's list of must-read stories for physicians: Why patients shouldn't trust TV doctors; and why political discourse is depleting overall trust in physicians.

In this week’s list of must-read stories for physicians: Why patients shouldn’t trust TV doctors; and why political discourse is depleting overall trust in physicians.

Fact-Checking “The Dr. Mehmet Oz Show” (Los Angeles Times)

A BMJ survey found the medical advice presented on popular TV doctor shows is frequently vacuous. Some 3 million people tune daily to hear “assertions made on the basis of no evidence at all” nearly 40% of the time.

Why Don't Americans Trust Doctors? (Forbes)

A NEJM survey on international satisfaction with physicians found that most Americans really like their own doctor, but don’t trust the medical profession generally. It’s because the “political discourse about US healthcare is too toxic” and doctors suffer by connection.

Top NYC Hospitals Must Clean Up Their Act (New York Post)

They are among the nation’s most distinguished teaching healthcare institutions—and yet they still lack proper hygiene. Each faces millions in Medicare fines “for failing to prevent patient infections and other avoidable complications.”

Most of America’s Doctors Now Support Assisted Suicide (NBC News)

For the first time ever, a majority of the nation’s physicians (54%) now support the right of “patients with an incurable illness to seek a dignified death.” The recent death of Brittany Maynard, a brain cancer patient, may have keyed the “remarkable shift,” experts say.

2015 Could Be the Year of the Hospital Hack (MIT Technology Review)

About 40% of healthcare organizations were hacked in 2014 and the number will only rise in the New Year. Why? Because medical records contain both ID info and financial info—allowing for “near-complete picture of an individual.”

Doctor Shortage Feared as Medicaid Rolls Swell (The New York Times)

Unless the federal government acts very soon, physicians will see an average 43% cut in reimbursements when caring for poorer patients. And more than 20% of Americans are now covered by Medicaid.

“Father of Modern Hematology” Dies at 85 (ABC News)

RIP to Donald Metcalf, MD, a brilliant Australian physician-scientist whose research improved the treatment of millions of cancer sufferers. Pancreatic cancer took the life of this doctor who balanced science with humanity.

Former Army Doctor Named America’s Top Rural Physician (Stars and Stripes)

From the Green Berets to medical school to the Delta Force to the 2014 Country Doctor of the Year, read about the remarkable life of Dr. John “Rob” Marsh—a Virginia physician who helps anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Vermont’s Single Payer Washout (The Wall Street Journal)

A state where government-run healthcare was “both more expensive and less efficient.” If socialized medicine can’t make it in the very liberal Vermont, how can it succeed anywhere?

Advice for Physicians and Spouses on Marital Happiness (AMA Alliance)

Physician resilience experts, Wayne and Mary Sotile, offer up some constructive tips on building and maintaining solid medical marriages. Key: “take responsibility for your own happiness and avoid the ‘wait until’ mentality that breeds misery.”