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Op ed roundup

I've just finished up a streak of 9 straight 12-hour shifts in the ER at Mt. Sinai Hospital on Chicago's West Side.  It's been draining, but fun.  I've intubated a few people without having to be told, step-by-step, what to do next.  I sucked fluid out of some guy's swollen knee all by myself.  I failed to extract any CSF from a lady that I LPd, but my attending couldn't get any CSF either.  Basically, I feel like a second-year resident: the procedures are easier than they were as an intern, but I know that I've got a ways to go before I can run the whole room like an attending.

Tonight I hosted journal club at my apartment, and the turnout was pretty good for me being down in Hyde Park (it's not like our main hospital is there or anything...).  Our two faculty toxicologists showed up to help us discuss some tox articles, and I think I ordered enough food so that people didn't go away hungry.  As a host, that means journal club was a success.  I still don't have anything up on my walls yet.  (How come everything I want costs upwards of five hundred dollars?  Why can't I just be satisfied with the "just say no to crack" posters?)

Anyway, second year is going well so far.  I missed out on seeing some old friends of mine from Alaska last weekend, but apart from that I've got no complaints.  We wouldn't have even had a chance last year, because I would have been on call and couldn't have even answered the phone, let alone arranged to meet them downtown for drinks.  As it is, I'll get another chance to see them soon, and I'm hoping to watch some more episodes of Battlestar Galactica with some law school friends in the next few weeks.  Now that I'm through with intern year, I'm really living it up.

So.  In the middle of all that, I've managed to read a few good opinion pieces on the big newspaper websites.  For example:

Eugene Robinson says, in the course of his piece on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas:

Black America has never been monolithic in its views, but black Americans do vote almost monolithically for Democrats. That wouldn't necessarily be the case if Richard Nixon hadn't built an electoral strategy on a race-based appeal to Southern whites -- and if every Republican presidential candidate and party leader since Nixon hadn't followed suit.

The surprising thing isn't that there are black conservatives, but that there are black Republicans.  Conservatism may be colorblind, but the GOP has most definitely not been.

I'm not usually a fan of Thomas Friedman, but he hits one out of the park with this one:

We can’t afford to keep being this stupid!  We have got to get our groove back. We need a president who will unite us around a common purpose, not a common enemy. Al Qaeda is about 9/11.  We are about 9/12, we are about the Fourth of July — which is why I hope that anyone who runs on the 9/11 platform gets trounced.
And I couldn't help but think, reading this article on an innovative new engineering school, that we need a similarly innovative school for physicians:
Olin came into being, Miller told me last spring in his office on campus, to make engineers “comfortable as citizens and not just calculating machines.” Olin is stressing creativity, teamwork and entrepreneurship — and, in no small part, courage. “I don’t see how you can make a positive difference in the world,” he emphasized, “if you’re not motivated to take a tough stand and do the right thing.”
And by that I mean that doctors ought not to limit their public-policy participation to trying to increase physician payments from Medicare.  The public is not going to follow us if the only issue we ever take a stand on is physician payments, or limiting our liability in tort suits.  For me, the AMA is still the Mordor, the Empire, or the Cylons of the health policy debate.  

Comments

Nice post. My thoughts on the AMA-stuff:

http://www.medhumanities.org/2007/10/on-the-american.html

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