Surgical Strike in Maryland

and it has nothing to do with bombing…
A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure

Surgeons in Washington County will begin turning away patients whose conditions are not life-threatening in hopes of forcing insurers to lower their malpractice premiums.

The work stoppage is scheduled to begin Nov. 15 with a majority of the county’s general surgeons, who handle a variety of procedures from appendectomies to vascular repairs.

But dozens of surgeons and physicians in other specialties are expected to announce soon that they also will begin turning down non-emergency work in November, said Dr. Karl P. Riggle, a spokesman for the Washington County Surgical Association.

The move could be the most drastic yet taken by medical doctors in Maryland, most of whom face a 33 percent increase in their insurance premiums. Doctors claim the rising rates are caused by large malpractice award payouts and threaten to drive them out of business, but their call for tort reform has been opposed by trial lawyers.

Of course, this will unfortunately result in is a few surgical emergencies from incarcerated hernias and the like, increasing the workload of ER docs in the area (“I couldn’t get in to see my surgeon…”). In this country we won’t see ER docs striking, as we’re nearly all either independent contractors with a no-due-process clause for firing (or not being scheduled, which is the same thing), or employees with just a straight up ‘you’re not working out…’. Surgeons are the best organized when motivated, and more power to them.

This is, unfortunately, the wave of the (near) future in medicine, voluntary strikes by docs to try to get the populace to influence legislators about malpractice legislation.

I’m thinking that lotteries really are bad for a culture: everything becomes an opportunity to get rich without actually having to earn it. The plaintiff standard of care now is perfection, and a bad or even sub-optimal outcome means a suit.

Good luck, surgeons. I hope it works for you, as the trickle-down helps us all. And, it might just be some Senators’ family member who gets cancelled, then something will happen nationally.

Underwear Drawer interviews for Queer Eye

the underwear drawer (no permalink; entry dated Wednesday, Sept 22).

Interesting, and she’s also one of the best writers in the medical blogosphere. She additionally spills the beans: it doesn’t all happen in one day! Read her post to find out how long it takes (longer then I thought).

Soldier Blogs Detail Life in Iraq

ABCNEWS.com : Soldier Blogs Detail Life in Iraq

Iraq war blogs are as varied as the soldiers who write them. Some sites feature practical news, war pictures and advice. Some are overtly political, with more slanting to the right than to the left. Some question the war, some cheer it. While some military bloggers (or milbloggers) say their commanders have encouraged their online literary ventures, a few say their commanders have shut them down.

For the folks back home, soldier blogs offer details of war that don’t make it into most news dispatches: The smell of rotten milk lingering in a poor neighborhood. The shepherd boys standing at the foot of a guard tower yelling requests for toothbrushes and sweets. The giant camel spiders. The tedium of long walks to get anything from a shower to a meal. A burning oil refinery a hundred miles away blocking the sun. A terrifying night raid surprised by armed enemies dressed in black.

Overall, quite a nice article on bloggers there, or who’ve been there. And it only took the mainstream media about a year to “discover” them.

via BLTB