October 27, 2009

Just because you're a hypochondriac ...

... doesn't mean people aren't trying to sneeze on you (to adapt Henry Kissinger's observation on his paranoia). Mickey Kaus writes:

Shouldn't doctors give patients waiting to see them little hand-held beepers or vibrating devices like those some crowded restaurants give you when you're waiting for a table? That way you could wander around nearby instead of staying in the unventilated waiting room filled with coughing, sneezing people.

Mickey has been one of the few voices in the health care debate bluntly expressing how a lot of us feel deep down: Why, yes, I do want vast amounts of money spent on my personal health care.

Also, everytime I go for a walk, I end up debating with myself another one of Mickey's health/safety views:

Just realized that pedestrians should always go around intersections counterclockwise. Otherwise left-turners get you. You're welcome.

What do you think?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kaus is right, the free lunch party is awesome. Until the Gods of the Copybook Headings return.

Jeff said...

Restaurant-style beepers that make a buzzing noise and light up are currently in use at Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio.

I don't know who else use them. They're the only ones I know of. Hospital personnel have to keep wiping them off with moist towelettes.

Anonymous said...

Richmond High School in California

78% hispanic
10% black
7% Asian
2% white

according to greatschools.net

http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/ca/other/607#students

Anonymous said...

Walking counterclockwise, you're at risk of having your back to right-turning cars.

Anonymous said...

Hospital personnel have to keep wiping them off with moist towelettes.

Who polices the hospital personnel and makes sure they're kept away from other people?!

Anonymous said...

Doctors couldn't care less about patients' convenience. Once they're out of residency, most doctors don't have any bosses. They often ARE bosses. The unemployment rate for doctors is pretty much zero. Being arrogant with patients does not have any downside for them. To whom are we going to complain?

Doctors will often tell you that they're overworked, but I've never seen any real-world evidence of that. As a rule, if you hear playful laughter or idle chatter while in a hospital, you're hearing doctors, not nurses or patients or their relatives.

Anonymous said...

I think the world would be a better place if the left was more like Kaus. Which is to say, more like they used to be before they got swept up in cultural Marxism. The man's a throwback to an earlier era in some respects.

Anonymous said...

"Once they're out of residency, most doctors don't have any bosses. They often ARE bosses."

Have you ever seen how bosses think 24/7 about the customer? I own my own business, I have no boss except the 12000 some customers I have to keep happy every day not to go under.

Your doctor gets paid by an insurance company that is never in the waiting room, so the waiting room experience is not relevant to the doctor's customer.

Anthony said...

Why not have an automated system that txts people on their cell phones?

Anonymous said...

"Doctors will often tell you that they're overworked, but I've never seen any real-world evidence of that."

Doctors get calls at all weird hours of the day, it stands to reason they would feel worn out. I used to work night shift at the call center of a hospital and there was always something going on, the calls from addicts looking for pills alone would be enough to drive anyone mad.

Anonymous said...

Let's see which "lazy" doctor who has been working 24 hours straight without sleep comes down to help the previous Anonymous commmenter when its 2 AM in the morning and he's vomiting blood...I am sure all those quiet and respectful patients, their families and nursing staff will just rush in with helpful suggestions...Or perhaps more having more unemployed doctors waiting in the govt. aid office will help him then... Anti doctor sentiment is probably satisfying but at the end of the day, they are the one of the only groups who actually add in value to our system...

Eric said...

Doctors will often tell you that they're overworked, but I've never seen any real-world evidence of that.

As far as I'm concerned anyone who starts his profession in his mid 30s with an Everest-sized mountain of debt after working around the clock for five or six years deserves whatever he can get in terms of pay and working conditions.

Anonymous said...

"Let's see which "lazy" doctor who has been working 24 hours straight without sleep comes down to help the previous Anonymous commmenter when its 2 AM in the morning and he's vomiting blood."

I'm the anonymous who posted the comment to which you replied. I have been in emergency rooms with real health emergencies. Have you? I remember spending 16 hours there before getting looked at. I do have insurance from my job, by the way. I'm not a free rider.

Unfortunately I've had several such experiences. If something happens to you and you're in pain for 12 or more hours waiting to be looked at by some spoiled 24-year old brat who'd rather talk on the phone or watch TV or do whatever it is they do there all day, you'll understand where I'm coming from. And when you do talk to them, they invariably sound arrogant and want to answer as few of your questions as possible and run away (to do what?) as soon as possible.

Just 3 months ago I accompanied my elderly mother who suddenly developed extreme pain in her abdomen to a local emergency room. From her description it sounded like a kidney stone, though it could have been a number of other things as well. We waited for 2 hours in the waiting room before being let into the main emergency room. There were about 10 other patients there. We were told that there was one MD on the premises. We waited there for 2 more hours. No sign of the doc. It's not even that he didn't see my mom, he didn't see any other patients either. 2 hour bathroom break? Video games? Drug abuse?

Eventually my mom's pain went down and she said she wanted to leave. It was midnight. I suggested we stay, but she'd had it with them. As we were walking out of the ER, I saw a car with an MD license plate. So there WAS a doc in the building after all. I swear, that was the only time in my life I had to suppress an urge to vandalize private property.

Anonymous said...

Just realized that pedestrians should always go around intersections counterclockwise. Otherwise left-turners get you. You're welcome.

That just means you're facing the left hand turners. Why not just look over your shoulder and save yourself 3 extra crossings (which carry some risk on their own, especially from those California right turners who are now behind you and have a shorter distance to go before plowing into you ;).

Udolpho.com said...

Well, this is what a fat insufferable spoiled baby sounds like. WHERE'S MY DOCTOR I DEMAND SERVICE IMMEDIATELY DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!!! MY MOTHER NEEDS IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE FOR HER KIDNEY STONE TWO HOURS THIS IS AN OUTRAGE DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!

Please just kill yourself. Problem solved.

headache said...

What do you think?


Somewhat OT but related: I don't own a car. Not coz I can't afford it, but coz I consciously boycott the motor company’s’ and the governments’ financial car model. Why should I be their sucker?
I've noticed that as I grow older I'm beginning to hate cars. I'm not green, far from it, it's just that I spend so much of my life waiting for cars or having to look out for them so I am not run down. I think cars suck. I kinda like trucks coz I’m not expected to own one and I like the feeling of raw power which goes with them.
Going around intersections is another annoyance which non-car owners such as myself are subjected to.

headache said...

Anti doctor sentiment is probably satisfying but at the end of the day, they are the one of the only groups who actually add in value to our system...


This has got to be your typical fallacy. Doctors' like lawyers, do not add value to the system coz they do not produce something a country can make money with. They just turn over what money is available and keep a cut. Which foreign country brings along money to get the services of a US doc? OK, maybe some overweight Saudi "princes", but that does not pay for the infrastructure.

In order to add value, you have to produce goods or services which are paid for in foreign currency. This is why Japan and Germany are still doing OK in spite of the crash. Coz they have lots of cars, machines, precision gear, quality materials and chemicals which everybody wants to buy sitting in some wharehouse. You just order it and they ship it. Then you pay the bill by wiring money into their Japanese or German account. THAT adds value.

Henry Canaday said...

I guess the Kaus logic is that left-turning cars are more dangerous than right-turning cars because: 1) you cannot tell when they are going to turn, since they must wait for an opening in traffic; and 2) when they turn, left-turning cars can turn more suddenly and their drivers may ignore pedestrians because they are trying to beat oncoming traffic in the opposite lane.

Makes sense. I admit I never thought of this because, although I live in DC, I follow New York City pedestrian rules. Ignore all traffic signals, cross-walk lines. rights of way, stop signs, those silly shibboleths about crossing only at intersections and all traffic laws generally and do not expect drivers to obey any of these laws either. Rather, notice that cars are much bigger and heavier than you, and believe that all cars have your name on them and your job is to frustrate their purpose in life.

Obeying traffic laws and trusting that others will also obey these laws amounts to a policy of making assumptions. And, as Bertrand Russell once wrote, “assumptions are the hostages we give to reality.”

Henry Kissinger probably understood all this when he was ten years old.

David said...

Anon., sorry about your emergency room experiences; however, given the state of our culture, immigration, etc. emergency rooms are regarded as the last places a talented doctor wants to work in for long. You get the young doctors there - plus a few screw-ups - and tons of females. All of them have had it up to HERE with their usual clientele: drug abusers, free riders, and morons who pulled some entirely elective "Jackass" (=TV show) stunt like "car surfing." For you and your mother, wandering into a situation like that, I'm truly sorry. I wouldn't blame doctors, I would try to understand the general culture and know that ERs in most places just suck. Also, there is something called "triage." If only one doctor is working the ER that night, then despite the fact that only 10 or so people are in front of you, it may take many hours to handle just one of those patients. Triage is even worse that "first come, first serve": it means taking the more serious cases first. Sometimes that means the less life-threatened cases have to sit on the bench and suffer (sometimes dreadfully) in silence. That's life. Don't key the doc's car.

bill said...

Most ER docs in urban area these days have finished a 3 year ER residency; they aren't just young or female or losers as someone implied.

Some docs and some specialties put in longer hours than others, but in general they all work pretty hard.

How much value medical care adds to society is a difficult question. Obviously, taking out an infected appendix in a 16 year old kid is enormously valuable. Screening for prostate cancer and then taking out cancers with robots, on the other hand likely does not save lives but runs the risk of causing impotence and incontinence.

Strangely, since an appendectomy is a quick and relatively easy operation, the surgeon and hospital don't get paid a lot for one while the reimbursement for the (prob. ineffectual) robot-assisted prostatectomy is sky-high.

albertosaurus said...

Doctor's are an IQ test. Anonymous failed.

Doctor's work with the general public. They see a new patient every twenty minutes. Most of these patients are dim witted fools of course. So doctors are lonely and wary.

If however you are intelligent they will be glad to see you. They will smile and be jolly. I guess that anonymous experiences a lot of surly arrogant people outside the emergency room too.

Anonymous seems to hold the doctor on duty responsible for the emergency room procedures. Brilliant! He might as well damn the physician for the traffic jam in the parking lot too.

Bob said...

I have a lot of respect for doctors, but as for adding value, the majority of medical spending the USA is from the government, and a lot of that goes to end-of-life spending on those who will never contribute to society again and/or never saved or paid taxes enough previously to pay for their subsidized care.

Also doctors in Japan and Western Europe get paid a lot less and seem to do a better job given those countries' average life expectancy.

Again the UK has the best system: completely free and very efficient basic care paid for the by government, and private care with no subsidies if you want more.

And before you say that this would require higher taxes, the British pay less in taxes to support their efficient socialist system than we pay for our inefficient semi-socialist system.

alonzo portfolio said...

@headache:

I too don't have a car and am not consciously green. But people assume I am. On way to bus one morning, two walkers coming toward me who I'd never met stopped me and insisted on chatting me up. A retired couple, he a physician. They laid this beaming, approving glow on me and let me know how great it was that my carbon footprint was so small. I told them I actually collect SUV's and was on my way to the storage shed where I keep 'em. You should have seen her face sneer up.

Argent Paladin said...

I was once part of a research study where I followed doctors around and recorded their activities, minute by minute. Let me tell you, they are extremely busy. It was a private clinic and the bottleneck is the doctor. They try as hard as possible not to give him/her any downtime, so when patients are inevitably late, the doctor doesn't get a break, but they try to rejigger the schedule. Doctors have whole teams of nurses and support staff to make sure that he/she is used to the best effect.
And I wouldn't be surprised if some private clinics, especially plastic surgery, did use those remote buzzers, except I think that for the most part there isn't even any substantial wait. It's a competitive market and, since the customer always pays, the costomer is always right.

David said...

> Henry Kissinger probably understood all this when he was ten years old. <

Anyone else noticed the new generation ostentatiously avoids looking in either direction before crossing any street? They walk right out in the street without looking left or right or pausing.

It's not an HBD thing, it seems that most people are making the following assumption: namely, to wit, that since pedestrians legally have the right of way, it's the other guy's fault if they get run over, so - don't bother to look.

These folks don't have the sense God gave a dog. Wait till their "learning moment" - that moment when they are flying 12 feet in the air after being hit by a 4-ton vehicle. The look on their faces alone...

My momma told me to look both ways before crossing the street. What are modern mommas telling their charges? "You are God's special gift and everyone should get out of YOUR way"? Oh, boy.

Polistra said...

It's not the left-turners that get you, it's the right-turners. I speak from near-death experience.

Best rule is to cross in the middle of the block if at all possible. In the middle of the block, cars are already moving and you can see all the cars that matter. No round-the-corner ambush, no sudden jumps possible.

Anonymous said...

About this walking business, I don't know about the States, but in Canada we were always told to walk on the right-hand side of the sidewalk, thereby avoiding collisions with other pedestrians and enhancing pedestrian traffic flow. Maybe it's the vast influx of immigrants from left-hand-traffic countries, but an awful lot of people walk on the left side now, causing pedestrian traffic jams...incidentally, another reason you walk on your right side of the sidewalk is because if you're walking in the curb side, with no parked cars, you're facing the traffic.

RobertB

Melykin said...

Henry Canaday said:
Obeying traffic laws and trusting that others will also obey these laws amounts to a policy of making assumptions. And, as Bertrand Russell once wrote, “assumptions are the hostages we give to reality.”

-------------------------------

Actually, obeying the law (not just traffic law, but law in general), and trusting that most others will obey the law, is very important indeed. A country where most people have this sort of faith in their fellow citizens is usually a first world country, and I believe it is this faith that allows a society to be a prosperous and pleasant place to live in.

This type of faith is notably lacking in 3rd world countries and the old soviet block and in most of Asia. People do NOT trust others to obey the laws and pay taxes. They don't trust anyone outside their own family. They do everything they can to avoid paying taxes and to defraud non-family members. It is every man for himself in these places. Corruption is rampant. It is either cheat or be cheated. Cheating, lying and corruption are a way of life.*

Go to Transparency.org to read more about the way corruption ruins lives and destroys nations.

So I think Bertrand Russel was wrong to condemn faith. Faith can be very useful--indeed having faith in the basic goodness of our fellow citizens allows us, in turn, to follow the rules and pay our fair share, and care for people in need--knowing we too will be cared for should we become needy. So the faith becomes a self-fulfilling proficy. In a sense, what we have faith in is only true if we believe it is true.

----------------------


*and we are letting lots of people with this mindset immigrate to Canada. An increase in corruption and mistrust has followed. :(

David said...

Melykin said

> People do NOT trust others to obey the laws and pay taxes. They don't trust anyone outside their own family. They do everything they can to avoid paying taxes and to defraud non-family members. It is every man for himself in these places. Corruption is rampant. <

Reminds me of pretty much anywhere in the Southeast USA.

James Kabala said...

Udolpho: Anonymous's first comment was pretty stupid, but I don't think his second (if true) was unreasonable or deserved the reaction it provoked.

Doctors exist for the benefit of the patient, not vice versa, and if a doctor is lazy or negligent, he shouldn't be any more immune from criticism than any other professional.