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A Medical Practice In The U.S.

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

My husband, who was in a pediatric practice…which is basically a GP for little people… went to work at 8 and came home about 6…the last hour finishing up chart notes and patient call-backs…with an hour off for lunch. Four days a week. At least half the day “off” was spent making hospital “rounds.”

If there was a really sick baby, eg. a premature birth in the hospital, that doctor was on “call” 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Then each doctor in the group practice took turns taking after hours “call.” There were 5 doctors in his group. Patients could call in at all hours and on weekends free of charge. So that meant his sleep was disturbed many times during the night. It also meant he couldn’t plan much for the weekends on “call” as he had to stay near the phone.

Finally the last couple of years he “bought” out of call by taking less prorated monthly pay. Of course all the doctors shared the cost of a huge bookkeeping and managing staff and the nurses and translators. Pediatricians are among doctors who get the least pay…the joke being that you can’t charge as much for people under 3 feet tall. 😉

If a practice accepted medicare patients (and many medical groups are refusing to do this) a doctor is paid pennies on the dollar…about 70% less.
And a medical education in the U.S. costs upward of $300 to $500 thousand dollars. My husband finally paid off all his loans the last year of practice.

The happiest day of his life was the day he retired.

My son, who is an anesthesiologist, learned from his father, to be in a solo practice…works from 7am until usually 7 at night 5 and sometimes 6 days a week. He can’t refuse medicare patients because he is working for the surgeon. I worry about him.

Finally there is the issue of doctor depression and suicides, often during residencies with 24 hours “on” every other day and a punishing hazing culture in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

The health system in the U.S is criminal.

What Happened To The Left

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

The writer has some interesting comments on the book “Hillbilly Elegy.”

“The solution needs to be that the white poor and the white working class needs to get together with black and brown folks and figure out a way to fight for a better system.”

I remember working for the Peace and Freedom Party in LA in the 60’s. The party was a socialist reaction to the politics of the “Old Left.”  The idea was that it was better to join a coalition of black and brown folks to fight the system from within. The old left would come to the meetings and start fist fights. The party elected our next door neighbor to go to Minnesota to nominate Eldridge Cleaver (“Soul On Ice”) at the party’s convention to run for president in the 1968 election. Then Robert Kennedy and King were taken out as was John Kennedy before.

It was a fantasy. You saw posters saying rEVOLUTION instead of REVOLUTION. But the Old Left insisted on spouting party line to distinguishing themselves from the political system. And they still are but are marginalized now. But the P&F party still exists in CA and is going national now that Bernie is on the scene.

But the big mistake was that this was not a party that included the working class.  It was a party of the Berkeley free speech intellectuals in tie dye t-shirts who the workers couldn’t relate to.

A lot has happened.  In 1964 Mario Savio, the spokesperson for the Free Speech Movement, gave his “Rage Against The Machine” speech atop a police car on the Berkeley campus.  Now Antifa (antifascists) who are insisting on political correct speech on college campuses, are fighting the Alt -Right in the streets who are insisting on “free speech!”

Every morning my friend writes a fantasy perception of life and posts it on Facebook. Today he writes:

“Salem. The Terrorism and Resistance Mitigation and Compliance people have been sweeping the city, picking up everyone in sight. Half the barista’s are in detention, and the streets are littered with propaganda leaflets. A man walks past the coffee house window, holding up a rear-view mirror to see who might be following him. A woman walks into the cafe with a license plate attached to her purse. Everyone’s ordering Xanax espressos.”