White Coat Underground

Archives for August, 2009

Recursive nonsense on health care

People who support our current abominable health care system like to cite Canada’s supposed failures as an example of what could happen to us. The argument is a non-starter—it’s a straw man designed to scare people. We are a very different country, with a different economy and different needs. Even with a single-payer system, we…

Transposition of the Great Arteries

OK, it’s time for another science-y post. Usually, I take on something very relevant to my specialty—it’s a helluva lot easier to write about stuff I already know. But some basics are just really cool, and worth exploring, even though I’ll have to step a bit outside my comfort zone. In this case, it’s the…

Are you qualified to be a doctor?

My friend Janet has a piece up about what qualifies one to be a philosopher, a piece which is remarkably brief but says much. She points out that get a position at a university, there are certain requirements, but that one can be “off the books”. Anyone can call themselves a philosopher, and if enough…

I’m really trying to understand this. Really. Why is the outcry against health care reform so much louder than the call for reform? I have a very hard time believing that a majority of people are against some sort of improvement in our system. Around here, people are losing their insurance right and left. But…

Last night’s Daily Show was hands down the best discussion of the health care reform insanity on TV, radio, or web. What interested me the most was how McCaughey revealed some of her real agenda, and how she actually brought up some almost-right points. Even more surprising, Jon Stewart misunderstood some bits that need fleshing…

Skeptics in the Pub!

It’s about time! Thanks to some terrific folks, like my buddy JB, we are having our first SE Michigan Skeptics in the Pub. This is an informal pilot, originally a small get-together, but seems to be growing. If you’re in SE Michigan and want to have a beer with a group of like-minded folks, including…

VIBE Machine—not half as fun as it sounds

Let’s say you have cancer. And let’s say you’re really, really sick of having cancer. And let’s say that you’re also pretty tired of scans, chemo, radiation, hair loss, nausea. And let’s say you’re not really sick and tired of living, but actually pretty happy to be alive. Finally, let’s say someone says that they…

Thanks, Doc

I was one of those crazy folks who loved medical school—not just the clinical years, but the pre-clinical sciences as well. The transition from pre-clinical to clinical can be rather unnerving (picture learning how to do a pelvic exam on paid models). One of my first clinical experiences was in our physical exam class. Much…

What is “health care”?

In his latest comment, Philip H has accelerated my reluctant discussion of health care reform. In fact, it was Philip who bullied me into writing about this topic in the first place. I’ve been avoiding wading into this mess, but being on the front line, it’s in my face every day. What he says in…

BMI TMI week #2 roundup

So, I’m at the end of week #2. I started, fully clothed and after breakfast, at 212. Last Wednesday I was 208. Today I’m 206. My successes have been in maintaining sustainable eating habits. My failures have been in keeping to an exercise program. I haven’t been completely sedentary, but I can do better.