Health Care Foibles – A Personal Tale

An example of the stupid things even doctors do when it comes to health care. 

In March of 2013 I wrote Healing the Health Care Cost Conundrum. Four years later, in March of 2017, I have retired from the US Army and am practicing medicine in Memphis, TN. My practice is in the inner city, and our focus is serving the Medicaid population. Our patients are impoverished and often very sick, with chronic diseases frequently showing up 20 years earlier than in their more affluent counterparts. Many live in dangerous communities, have no reliable transportation, and have unhealthy food. Obesity is the norm, violence is taken for granted, and serious mental illness is widespread. It comes as no surprise that many patients abuse drugs, citing chronic pain that may or may not be real. Some come to the clinic for no other reason than to feed their drug habit, and try to get narcotics to generate a little extra income. It is the toughest medical environment I have encountered since my combat tour in Iraq.

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Why We Buy

We often buy not to enjoy our purchase or meet a physical need, but to fill a hole in our hearts, a lack in who we are. 

The Christmas season has just ended, and people worldwide have been evaluating the effects of the holiday. Some people do not celebrate Christmas, and so whatever effect the holiday has on them is indirect. A Buddhist in China, for example, may not believe in Jesus Christ, but may be employed manufacturing toys or clothes given as gifts by those who do believe. A Muslim in the Islamic State may hate the very idea of Jesus Christ, but realize that his American and Western foes are less likely to attack him on December 25th. A Western secularist may scoff at Christianity, but still take advantage of Black Friday shopping bargains and deal with holiday traffic. For many in the West, and in other parts of the world, Christmas is a social rather than a religious holiday.

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Consumer Product Safety

In my grandfather’s childhood in rural Arkansas, most of the food that he ate and the clothes that he wore were produced at home. His ancestors had built their own houses and furniture for generations, and store-bought goods were rare and expensive. While people knew little about foodborne illnesses and other hazards, they knew where the food and other products in their lives came from.

Such is not the case today. Our plates are filled with Indian rice, Honduran bananas, Japanese fish, or American wheat. We buy shirts from Mexico, cars from Germany, shoes from Italy, or electronics from China. Imported consumer goods are only as safe as the governments and producers in their country of origin require. A report in the New York Times stated,

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Using 2X2 Tables to Choose Between Two Alternatives

You can make better decisions by using simple 2×2 tables. Learn how here!

There are hundreds of ways to evaluate programs and other initiatives. Many are subjective and do not provide hard, actionable data. Others are objective but so complicated that data analysts and statistics specialists are required to use them. 2X2 tables are easy to learn and use and very effective at producing understandable yet quantifiable results from a data set. This article details how to use them.

Using 2X2 Tables to Choose Between Two Alternatives

ACES Framework of Organizational Development

A useful organizational developmental framework derived from military sources and adapted to business needs. 

From being the Commander of a small US Army clinic in Schweinfurt, Germany, to being the Chief Medical Officer for all of military medicine in the National Capital Region at the JTF Cap Med, I have led organizations. To train my colleagues, I have developed the ACES Framework of Organizational Development. It is based on the military model.

I have posted it here because some have found it useful in the past and others find it useful in the future. Happy reading!

ACES Framework of Organizational Development

Values-Aligned Investing

Put your money where your heart is, and live your conscious with your finances. 

Christians often have a conflicted relationship with money. On one hand, Paul was a tentmaker who supported himself in ministry, and he tells Timothy that “a man who fails to care for his family is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8).” Many saints in the Bible were wealthy, from Abraham to Joseph of Arimathea, and they used their wealth to further the Kingdom of God.

Simultaneously, the Bible speaks often of money, and warns repeatedly against pursuing wealth. Paul says, “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10).” Agur advises “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain (Proverbs 30:8-9).” Jesus Himself warns, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24).”

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Useful Quotations on Money, Poverty and Wealth

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

Mark 10:29 – Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,

30 – but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

31 – “But many who are first, will be last; and the last, first.”

 

“I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.” E E Cummings (1894-1962)

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.” J. Paul Getty (1892-1976)

“Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), U.S. president. Speech, 21 March 1864, in reply to committee from the New York Workingmen’s Association.

“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.” Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), U.S. Republican (later Progressive) politician, president. Speech, 23 Aug. 1902, Providence, R.I.

“The forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Radio broadcast, 7 April 1932.