Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Few Quick Hot Topics

I could probably write a blog on each of these but they are piling up too fast. So here's some flotsam and jetsam from the top of my head.

1) Giants WR Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a NY night club while carrying a concealed weapon. Apparently he used to have a permit for this weapon in Florida (I thought I heard it had expired) AND NY doesn't allow concealed weapons so he is facing 2 felony weapons charges. Apparently NY also passed what they call the "P. Diddy" law which carries a mandatory 3.5 year sentence for felony weapons charges (I guess P. Diddy got out of serving time for similar charges and NY wasn't about to let it happen again). Now here's where I have a problem. Michael Vick was sentenced to almost 2 years for executing and torturing numerous dogs, not to mention the abuse to the remaining 47 dogs who were rescued (and he was at this for years). Vick was intentionally and purposefully torturing these animals for his sick pleasure - and he may serve 1/2 as much time as Plaxico Burress who is - in my opinion - just an idiot. I am much less concerned about having Plaxico Burress roaming the streets than I am about Vick. I think Michael Vick is sick in the head and unfeeling people like that are dangerous. Plaxico on the other hand probably isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer - but I believe he is less a menace to be roaming the streets.

2) From a great debate I heard on the way home on the radio - A 24 year single old woman was denied a prescription for birth control from her doctor because he ethically disagreed with her choice to engage in sex before marriage (never mind all of the other reasons to be on birth control including regulating periods and acne but that's not the point). The doctor actually went so far as to lecture her about her morals. Now I don't have an issue with the Doctor having a religious opinion on the matter but I do object to the patient not receiving LEGAL medical options available today because her Doctor disagreed with it. In fact - I think it is in some ways discrimination. I think it is fine for the Doctor NOT to chose that for himself, but his job is to provide care for his patients and I was surprised to hear that it was possible for him to basically be the judge on whether or not you should be allowed to use contraception. In fact - this month Bush is pushing for a bill in congress which would give Doctors MORE authority to be selective in their care of patients based on religious beliefs. Now you can see things get murky - I actually don't have an issue with a doctor choosing not to perform an abortion based on the Doctor's views - but to leave that off the table for a patient who is relying on a Doctor to understand all of their medical options seems wrong. I was unaware how much of an issue this was in doctors offices today. In fact - apparently doctors are not giving patients all of their possible legal choices for health care based on their religious beliefs, and as you can guess this includes not informing patients on their options for birth control, abortion, and end of life issues such as being removed from a ventilator etc. I think if a Doctor doesn't want to perform a vasectomy that's fine - but if they are actually knowingly withholding medical information about LEGAL options from their patients then they have gone too far and probably shouldn't be doctors. Imagine if someone refused to sell you a house because they disagreed with your country of origin. There are laws in place in real estate to prevent discrimination and it should be similar in medicine. If you are in a profession but disagree with available and LEGAL options I don't think you should be able to impose your views on others who are relying on you as a resource. What if your Doctor witheld chemotherapy options from your inoperable cancer and you didn't even know it was an option until it was too late and your Doctor let you die because their religion (maybe scientology) didn't believe in chemical fixes? It's maddness.

3) Big 3 Bailout. I say no. Here's why - it's an entire industry in the US that is not competitive because of cost structure and the only way to get out of archaic union contracts is in bankruptcy. By keeping the existing companies afloat as is - it only prolongs the misery. In fact - the only people the current employees of the Big 3 should be pissed at are all of the previous generations of big 3 employees who retired on fat pensions and were paid above market values for labor that was locked up in union contracts. If you see an industry with gross amounts of waste - people working less than market hours for guaranteed salaries and contracts retiring with huge benefits (that are now crippling the companies) - RUN, don't walk, away from that industry as a profession.


Karen said...

I'm totally with you on #2 and 3 and i'll be honest that i spaced out on 1 so therefore have no opinion. ;)

ddting said...

I'm with you on #2 as well. I think the law should say the doctor is required to tell the patient she has choices, and at least require the doctor to tell the patient to go to another doctor.

For #3 I'm usually in violent agreement with you. The only devil's advocate I can bring to the table is if there's someway to make it a "soft landing" for the big 3 vs a crash landing. I don't know what's up with the bailout, but I kinda doubt that it's structured as a soft landing vs. a handout.

Anonymous said...

1. When I first saw the initial newsflash "Burress accidentally shot", I thought to myself, "How did they determine so quickly that it was an accident? Usually it would take a investigation before concluding a shot was accidental... wait... I bet he accidentally shot himself!"

2. personally, I think it's okay for doctors to refuse to perform or prescribe certain treatments based on personal convictions. but they should be required to inform the patients their legal options that another doctor can provide.

3. i agree that the american automakers have a proven record of incompetence and should probably be allowed to fail. but like ddting suggested, some kind of soft landing.

Michelle said...


Burress (& in my opinion, many other football players who have been tackled one too many times and are missing a few screws upstairs) = stupid.

Shocked at the doctor.

Tired of bailouts - do not yet see the benefit and isn't the US all about supply and demand. Let the weak ones close shop?

Martha said...

For #2 I think a doctor should not *have* to do something they oppose doing. For any reason. Especially for something that is not life or death. And trust me, no matter how embarrassing that zit is, it is not a life or death deal. I actually commend a doctor for standing her grounds. A 24 year old woman should be smart enough that if she doesn't like the advice given to her - go get another opinion! If she can't figure that out, then that's her own problem.
Besides, if a doctor disagrees to that point with what you are doing, then how can you be comfortable knowing you're getting the best care possible from them when other health issues arise?

Jim said...

On point:

1) Agree that Burress made a really dumb mistake that is going to cost him heavily for it, as it should.

2) Agree - a doctor is not a priest. Just a laywer is not a priest. They are both obviously entitled to their opinions in the realm of ethics & morals; however their job descriptions, last time I checked, is to provide healh care and legal advice. Now, if you asked for their personal opinion, that is another story. Think of how many public defenders would botch their defense case because they just knew their client was guilty - heck I bet some of their clients told them they committed the alleged crime. what keeps the lawyer from doing that... an oath to uphold their profession.

c) agree - not a fan of any auto bailout. Poor executive guidance led to this situation; they should have seen the signs long ago.

Kathy said...

I agree with #2! I've read that in many states pharmacists also have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control if they feel opposed to doing so for any reason, which I also feel is absurd and wrong. And kind of scary!

I don't always share the same convictions as my patients, but when it comes down to it - it doesn't matter and shouldn't affect my treatment. I think doctors should educate people on pros/cons but patients need to make their own (educated) decisions.