Physicians, Business, Professional and Information Technology Communities
Networking to Restore Accountability in HealthCare & Medical Practice
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
MedicalTuesday refers to the meetings that were traditionally held on Tuesday evenings where physicians met with their colleagues and the interested business and professional communities to discuss the medical and health care issues of the day. As major changes occurred in health care delivery during the past several decades, the need for physicians to meet with the business and professional communities became even more important. However, proponents of third-party or single-payer health care felt these meetings were counter productive and they essentially disappeared. Rationing, a common component of government medicine throughout the world, was introduced into the United States with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), under the illusion that this was free enterprise. Instead, the consumers (patients) lost all control of their personal and private health-care decision making, the reverse of what was needed to control health care costs and improve quality of care.
We welcome you to the reestablishment of these MedicalTuesday interchanges now occurring on the world wide web. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you or you have not been on our email list, please go to www.MedicalTuesday.net and subscribe to continue to receive these free messages on alternate MedicalTuesdays. At this site you can also subscribe to the companion quarterly newsletter, HealthPlanUSA, designed to make HealthCare more affordable for all Americans. Please forward this message to your friends. If you were referred in error or do not wish to receive these messages, we have made it easier for you to unsubscribe simply by clicking the Remove Link below.
In This Issue:
1. Health Care Costs Are Declining
2. Physician Support for Covering and Caring for the Uninsured
3. Doctor’s Dying Wish for His NHS Hospital: Clean the Windows
4. Government Medicine - Private Hospitals Don't Get Resistant Staph Infections
5. Medical Gluttony: Don't Worry, Doctor, It Doesn't Cost Me a Thing
6. Medical Myths: Don't Worry About Fat, Cholesterol or Red Wine?
7. Overheard in the Medical Staff Lounge - How to Control the Medical Interview
8. The MedicalTuesday Recommendations for Restoring Accountability in Medical Practice, HealthCare and Government
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1. Health Care Costs Are Declining
Peter Huber, author of Hard Green: Saving the Environment From the Environmentalists, in his column in Forbes, "Medicine Get's Cheaper," states that the cost of health care in the U.S. has been declining steadily for the last 50 years and that it will decline faster in the next 50. All of the doleful commentary about mushrooming costs and budget-busting programs ignores the principal economic costs of illness which are falling fast, in particular lowered labor productivity, and the science of pharmacology, which is transforming the economics of health care.
Sick people can't work, and when adults die in their prime, they take all their intelligence, skills and initiative with them. Until recently, the cost of illness among children and the elderly was also shouldered mainly by the healthy adults who devoted countless hours to their care. Such costs aren't reflected in revenues to doctors or hospitals, still less in federal insurance programs. They are felt in lost corporate profits, lower wages and, for many women, tireless but entirely off-budget toil in the home.
But while the costs of incapacity, home care and the sanitarium declined, spending on hospitals and physicians rose sharply. Families began outsourcing their health care, particularly for the elderly. This pushed the costs out into the open, where they could be covered by insurance programs and decried by budget experts. The real cost of health care--avoiding disease or recovering from it--certainly continued to drop fast, but now the costs were incurred not in time but in dollars--often government dollars--and that of course changed the debate.
Most of those dollars, however, are still spent buying time--the very expensive time of doctors, nurses, geriatric attendants and countless others who have replaced mom in the business of soothing the fevered brow and changing the bedclothes. Hospital care currently consumes 31 percent of our on-budget health spending; physician and clinical services another 22 percent. Most of these dollars go for manual labor--"manual" in the sense of hands-on, the cost of paying one person to look after another, working from the outside in.
Prescription drugs, which currently account for only 11 percent of our on-budget health spending, work from the inside out. And as vaccines and antibiotics have already demonstrated, they can change the economics of health care fundamentally. They are extremely expensive to develop, but once developed, they usually cost comparatively little to manufacture. Early on in a pharmacological assault on a grave disease, drugs invariably raise costs, because at first they only stretch out the disease, they don't beat it, and so we end up paying more for the drug and more for the physician, too. But in the end drugs get good enough to beat the disease outright and thus displace doctor and the hospital altogether.
Yes, very difficult and expensive problems, as engineering problems go. But when well-engineered molecular machines displace manual labor, costs don't rise, they fall. We will indeed spend more on drugs in the coming years than anyone has allowed for in existing budgets. They will be cheap at the price.
To read the entire column, please go to http://www.forbes.com/global/2004/0301/061_print.html.
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2. Physician Support for Covering and Caring for the
Robert S Berry, MD, reports in the Annals of Internal Medicine this month that their editorial on physician support for covering the uninsured was flanked by two events that will probably do more to improve health care for the uninsured than the numerous position papers promoting universal health coverage. A front page Wall Street Journal article on November 6, 2003, publicized the growing movement in insurance-free medical clinics (IFMCs) featuring his own clinic. On December 8, 2003, health savings accounts (HSAs) were signed into law. The former will provide Americans choosing the latter with lower health care costs. Overhead at practices such as Dr Berry's run about one-third that of more conventional clinics, primarily because IFMCs do not process any medical claims. Their patients pay for services at the point of care. What surprised him was that he found 45 percent of his 4800 patients have some form of insurance. His experience serving as a stopgap underscores the reality many countries with national health insurance now face: that universal health coverage (for all its noble intentions) does not universally guarantee timely, quality health care. This explains why more than one million people in Great Britain are awaiting elective surgery and why it takes more than 26 weeks on average for a general practitioner in Canada to refer a patient to an ophthalmologist. Inefficiency this inhumane suggests that when it comes to health care, political mandates don't work.
Berry continues that not only have IFMCs made medical care more affordable and accessible for the uninsured, they are strategically positioned to serve patients with HSAs. With pre-tax personal and family medical accounts supplanting conventional insurance, more Americans will soon be seeking the best value for their health-care dollar. This new cost-consciousness could produce savings of revolutionary proportions–perhaps similar to the Harvard Business professor who coined the phrase "disruptive innovation." Although this efficiency is initially directed at low-end users, Berry predicts it will catch on in the mainstream and eventually dominate the primary medical market. He also points out that IFMCs such as his Patmos Clinic would be illegal in Canada.
3. Doctor’s Dying Wish for His NHS Hospital: Clean
A terminally-ill doctor was so shocked by the state of the windows at the hospital where he was treated, he asked that donations after his death go to a cleaning fund.
Dr John Hughes-Games, 77, who practiced medicine in Bristol for 40 years, was treated for leukemia earlier this year at the Bristol Oncology Centre. Appalled at the condition of the windows, Dr Hughes-Games, who died two weeks ago, decided to do something about it. Now his widow Susan has organized a collection fund to pay for the cleanup.
A spokesman for the United Bristol Health Care Trust said: "Dr Hughes Games was a long serving and highly respected member of the local health community. He had a larger than life character and had a great rapport with staff at the Bristol Oncology and Hematology Centre during his stay. The fact that the only improvement he wanted was cleaner windows speaks volumes for the quality of clinical care he received at the centre."
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4. Government Medicine - Private Hospitals Don't Get
Resistant Staph Infections
James Bartholomew, reporting in London's Sunday Telegraph, reported last week that many people are now frightened that they could pick up a dangerous infection if they go into a hospital. More and more of us know someone who has been infected with the superbug, MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Marjorie Evans has been infected with it on eight occasions at the same hospital in Swansea. Now wheelchair-bound as a result, she says: "I'd rather go abroad and trust foreigners."
It is difficult to make a reliable judgment about the danger of getting MRSA, partly because the government has refused to monitor it in the ways recommended by the National Audit Office in 2000. We don't know how big the risk is. But one thing is clear: Marjorie Evans is right. One is safer abroad. More than that: one is vastly safer in a private hospital. The danger of getting MRSA is, above all, a risk affecting patients of the National Health Service (NHS). Officially the number of people infected by MRSA in the bloodstream is about 7,600 a year. How does it compare with the private sector?
BMI Healthcare is one of the biggest private hospital groups in the UK, with 47 hospitals. During the course of a year, the group has a quarter of a million in-patients and three-quarters of a million out-patient visits. How many patients in BMI hospitals have acquired MRSA in the blood? None. In fact, over the years, the company has "never" had such a case.
There have indeed been cases of MRSA infections in BMI hospitals, but none have got to the bloodstream. Even the non-bloodstream infections have reached only 0.02 per cent of BMI patients - less than one-thirtieth of the proportion of admissions to NHS hospitals which get any kind of MRSA. It is true that private and NHS hospitals get a different "patient mix", but it is not significant enough to explain the contrast between thousands of deaths a year from MRSA in NHS and absolutely none at BMI hospitals.
The NHS is the most state-controlled hospital system in the advanced world and has the worst record in Europe. But at a more profound level, the MRSA crisis is because the NHS is a state monopoly. Ministers are always making hospitals respond to the latest newspaper headlines rather than doing what is best in the overall interest of patients; hospital workers - like many employees of state industries - are demoralized and their pay rates are unresponsive, thus causing the local shortages. The state has also closed too many hospitals. The list of ways in which it has increased the risk is endless.
The dynamics of the private sector, meanwhile, are simpler and more effective. If you don't treat your customers well, you go out of business.
To read Mr Bartholomew's entire report, go to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/07/25/do2502.xml. The author's The Welfare State We're In is to be published in September.
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5. Medical Gluttony: Don't Worry, Doctor, It Doesn't
Cost Me a Thing
A patient recently came in to review the results of her laboratory tests which included a chemistry panel. I was confused by the fact that there were two sets and the dates were identical. Then I noted that one had my name at the top and one had the surgeon's name to whom I had referred her. I asked her why she had two done. She said, the laboratory said they couldn’t combine them and just do one, they had to do whatever the patient presented to them. Medicare regulations would not allow them to use their own judgement. Hence, the liver tests, kidney tests, sugar, blood counts and other tests were done twice and were within 5 percent of each other, the usual non-significant variation on two identical samples. Thus about $375 worth of tests actually cost her insurance company twice that, or $750 minus their usual discount. When I pointed out to the patient that this was gouging the system, she somewhat hostilely replied, "Don't worry, doctor, it doesn't cost me a thing." When I suggested that it costs the taxpayers or the system an unnecessary 100 percent increase, she became somewhat upset. I immediately changed the subject before she decided to file a complaint with Medicare after which I would be spending hundreds of hours defending my statement. It could then jeopardize my medical licensure, which is necessary for me to make a living, and I could possibly even be incarcerated for a violation of an obscure law or regulation that was uncovered by the U.S. prosecuting attorney who obtains promotions on the basis of how many physicians he has made into felons.
This huge inefficiency cannot be managed in the public arena. Congress won't allow their constituents to get upset with government largess, and the gluttonous excess just increases. Government reform becomes too hot to implement.
In the private arena where the patient is partially responsible for the costs incurred, this sort of gluttonous behavior is stopped in its tracks. In the example above, as soon as the surgeon started writing the requisition for a number of expensive tests, the patient, knowing that he or she would be paying a portion of them, would have pulled my requisition out of her purse and asked the surgeon if this covered what he needed. And if he wanted a few extra tests, he would simply have added the specific test, signed his name, and cost-containment would be implemented even before the patient reached the laboratory.
That's why some actuaries estimate that private-based health care would save up to fifty percent of health care costs. Our anecdotal experience is still estimating a 30 percent reduction in health care costs by returning health care to the private Medical MarketPlace, or about $400 billion savings of the total $1400 billion total U.S. health-care costs. We must always remember that health care insurance that covers 100 percent, whether from an employer or from government, is hugely expensive and is not market based. Hence, none of the above cost-containment and efficiencies can occur. This explains why employers are no longer paying for full coverage health insurance. It causes Medical Gluttony and makes health insurance unaffordable and people uninsurable.
Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.
* * * * *
6. Medical Myths: Don't Worry About Fat, Cholesterol
or Red Wine?
On two tables of stone, DIETS & DYING found near Mt Ararat, a short distance from Sinai, the final word on nutrition and health were found. Although we're trying to verify the validity of the finding, it's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies. Some of my Jewish friends, however, say the translation was corrupted.
“The Japanese eat very little fat or red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The French eat a lot of fat and drink a lot of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and a lot of cheese and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.”
CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
* * * * *
7. Overheard in the Medical Staff Lounge - How Do
You Handle Windy Patients?
Dr James Edwards, who always is so positive about everything, told us about a long-winded patient he had that morning. Only this patient talked with his eyes closed. He tried several times to interrupt and guide the conversation to a more focused medical problem. However, the patient just kept talking. Noticing the charts piling up on the desk outside the examination room, he quietly slipped out and saw a follow-up patient in the next examining room and re-assumed his seat on the examining stool. He again tried to redirect the patient in a more focused problem-oriented medical direction to no avail. He noticed a large number of charts with recent laboratory work attached sitting next to the stack of waiting patient charts and stepped out and started to evaluate all the laboratory and x-ray reports annotating, signing, and dating them. He was able to hear the patient through the open door and again went in to direct the medical interview but he was still unsuccessful. He then observed that his medical assistant had placed another patient in the second examination room and he quickly took care of her. This happened repeatedly during the course of the morning.
Jim was happy to announce to the doctors at the table that his ingenuity in patient management allowed him to clear up the backlog, catch up on his chart work, take care of the loquacious patient, and finish the morning with everybody happy as they left the office. He said this technique was never taught in his medical school, but gained through years of clinical experience.
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8. MedicalTuesday Supports These Efforts of the Medical and Professional Community in Restoring Accountability in Medical Practice, HeathCare and Government
• PATMOS EmergiClinic - where Robert Berry, MD, an emergency physician and internist, provides prompt care for many of the injuries and illnesses treated in Emergency Rooms at a fraction of the usual emergency room fees. Be sure to read his article on Medicare's absurd impact on PATMOS. Because Medicare regulations require him to either surrender his Medicare billing number for two years or refuse to treat Medicare beneficiaries, he has chosen to “opt-out” of Medicare since he refuses to discriminate against the elderly and disabled in his community who are willing to pay for his services at the point of care. Read about Medicare's cruelty to patients at http://www.emergiclinic.com/. Also read Dr Berry’s response to Physicians Who Support Single-Payer Health Care or Socialism at http://www.delmeyer.net/hmc2004.htm#by%20Robert%20Berry.
• Dr Vern Cherewatenko concerning success in restoring private-based medical practice which has grown internationally through the SimpleCare model network, www.simplecare.com. Any patient or provider may become a member of SimpleCare. A number of brochures about a practice that is becoming increasingly popular are available online. There have been a number of news network and press reports. The AP article of April 27, 2004, is still available at http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040404/D81O7R7O0.html.
• Dr David MacDonald started Liberty Health Group, www.LibertyHealthGroup.com, to assist physicians in controlling their own medical benefit costs for their staff and patients. Dr David is very skillful at explaining the 1) Current insurance problems, 2) Traditional solutions and 3) Liberty Solution. Take the two-minute medical economic tour at http://www.libertyhealthgroup.com/Employer_Solutions.htm. Dr Dave is available to speak to your group on a consultative basis.
• John and Alieta Eck, MDs, for their first-century solution to twenty-first century needs. With 46 million people in this country uninsured, we need an innovative solution apart from the place of employment, and apart from the government. Please visit them at Zarephath Center at www.zhcenter.org and check out their history, mission statement, newsletter, and a host of other information. For their article “Are you really insured?,” go to http://www.healthplanusa.net/AE-AreYouReallyInsured.htm.
• Madeleine Pelner Cosman, JD, PhD, Esq, has made important efforts in restoring accountability in health care. Please visit http://www.healthplanusa.net/MPCosman.htm to view some of her articles that highlight the government’s efforts in criminalizing medicine, and the introduction to her new book, Who Owns Your Body. For other OpEd articles that are important to the practice of medicine and health care in general, click on her name at http://www.healthcarecom.net/OpEd.htm. Come to Portland in October to hear and meet her personally. (See below.)
• David J Gibson, MD, Consulting Partner of Illumination Medical, Inc. has made important contributions to the free Medical MarketPlace in speeches and writings. His series of articles in Sacramento Medicine can be found at http://www.ssvms.org. Dr Gibson recently edited the March/April historical issue. To read his "Lessons from the Past," go to http://www.ssvms.org/articles/0403gibson.asp. You can read additional articles such as Health Care Inflation at http://www.healthplanusa.net/DGHealthCareInflation.htm. Watch for his next article, Counterfeit Drugs - The Next Likely Target for Terrorism, in this space posssibly next month.
• Dr Richard B Willner, President, Center Peer Review Justice Inc, reports his latest success stories and the secret of helping doctors keep their medical license. On a daily basis, doctors are reviewed, are suspended, lose their medical licenses and go to jail on trumped-up charges. These "extra"-legal services are necessary services that your lawyer does not offer. Stay posted with a wealth of information at http://www.peerreview.org.
• Semmelweis Society International, http://www.semmelweissociety.net, Verner S. Waite MD, FACS, Founder; Henry Butler MD, FACS, President; Ralph Bard MD, JD, Vice President; W. Hinnant MD, JD, Secretary-Treasurer; is named after Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, MD (1818-1865), an obstetrician who has been hailed as the savior of mothers. He noted maternal mortality of 25-30 percent in the obstetrical clinic in Vienna. He also noted that the first division of the clinic run by medical students had a death rate 2-3 times as high as the second division run by midwives. He also noticed that medical students came from the dissecting room to the maternity ward. He ordered the students to wash their hands in a solution of chlorinated lime before each examination. The maternal mortality dropped, and by 1848 no women died in childbirth in his division. He lost his appointment the following year and was unable to obtain a teaching appointment. He then went to St Rochus Hospital in the city of Pest and reduced the epidemic of puerperal fever to 0.85 percent. The rate in Vienna was still 10-15 percent. Although ahead of his peers, he was not accepted by them. When Dr Verner Waite received similar treatment from a hospital, he organized the Semmelweis Society with his own funds using Dr Semmelweis as a model: All we ask is that peer review be done with “clean hands.” To read the article he wrote at my request for Sacramento Medicine when I was editor in 1994, “Medicine is a Rough Playing Field,” see http://www.delmeyer.net/HMCPeer.htm#by%20Verner%20Waite%20and%20Robert%20Walker. To see Attorney Sharon Kime’s response, as well as the California Medical Board response, see http://www.delmeyer.net/HMCPeerRev.htm. Scroll down to read some very interesting letters to the editor from the Medical Board of California, from a member of the MBC, and from Deane Hillsman, MD. To read some horror stories of atrocities against physicians and how organized medicine still treats this problem, please go to their current website at http://www.semmelweissociety.net.
• Dennis Gabos, MD, President of the Society for the Education of Physicians and Patients (SEPP), http://www.sepp.net, for making efforts in Protecting, Preserving, and Promoting the Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities of Patients and Health Care Professionals, with a special page for our colleagues in nursing. Several free newsletters are available. Be part of protecting and preserving what is right with American HeathCare–physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, all health professionals and all concerned individuals are urged to join. There are some very interesting links on his website.
• Robert J Cihak, MD, former president of the AAPS, and Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D, write an informative Medicine Men column that is at NewsMax. Please log on to review the last five week’s topics or click on archives to see the last two year’s topics at http://www.newsmax.com/pundits/Medicine_Men.shtml. This week’s column on increasing our adult productivity, “Medicine, Genes, Sports and Longevity,” can be found at http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/7/22/95548.shtml.
• The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (www.AAPSonline.org), The Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943, representing physicians in their struggles against bureaucratic medicine, loss of medical privacy, and intrusion by the government into the personal and confidential relationships between patients and their physicians. Be sure to scroll down on the left to departments and click on News of the Day. The “AAPS News,” written by Jane Orient, MD, and archived on this site, provides valuable information on a monthly basis. Scroll further to the official organ, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, with Larry Huntoon, MD, PhD, a neurologist in New York, as the Editor-in-Chief. There are a number of important articles that can be accessed from the Table of Contents page of the current issue.
• The AAPS will be holding its 61st annual meeting at the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon, on October 13-16, 2004. The theme for this year is “RECLAIMING AMERICAN MEDICINE.” Be sure to register at www.AAPSonline.org and make hotel reservations at www.bensonhotel.com or call 800-663-1144. Since organized medicine has become primarily oriented towards state control of our profession, the AAPS has attracted not only physicians who believe in the private practice of medicine, but also many professional, business, and lay associate members who believe in our cause. If you are a physician, please send in your $285 membership dues. If you are a non-physician, consider supporting this effort with a $95 associate membership and attending the meeting in Portland on October 13-16, 2004.
• Special guests for this year’s 61st annual
meeting include Madeleine Pelner Cosman, JD, PhD, Esq, President of
Medical Equity, Inc, and national medical law consultant as well as popular
worldwide lecturer on medical law and medical ethics, who will be the banquet
speaker on “Illegal Aliens and American Medicine,” see http://www.healthplanusa.net/MPCosman.htm;
Radio Talk Show Host, Lars Larson, www.LarsLarson.com;
author Star Parker, www.UrbanCure.org;
Greg Scandlen of the Galen Institute, www.Galen.org;
and Art Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, www.OISM.org.
* * * * *
Stay Tuned to the MedicalTuesday.Network and Have
Your Friends Do the Same
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Del Meyer, MD, CEO & Founder
6620 Coyle Avenue, Ste 122, Carmichael, CA 95608
P. J. O'Rourke: If there is one thing that history has taught us, it's that government is the biggest health hazard. Governments have killed more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts. Government tends to break what it tries to fix and worsens each problem it tries to solve. So why would we want to give government more power?
Winston Churchill: We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
H. L. Mencken: The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety), by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
Review some recent postings below.
Voices of Medicine: To read a review of the first issue of Sacramento Medicine in 1950 go to http://www.ssvms.org/articles/0403vom.asp, remembering that the first 132 years are no longer available. To read this years series of my column, the "Voices of Medicine," go to http://healthcarecom.net/vom2004.htm.
Charles B Clark, MD: A Piece of the Pie: What are we going to tell those bright-eyed little boys and girls who are going to be the doctors of tomorrow? When there isn’t anything left for them, are we going to tell them we didn’t fight because the changes were inevitable anyway? What are we going to say when they ask us why we laid down and died when things got a little tough? Are we going to feel good about ourselves when we tell them it’s all right because we got a piece of the pie? Read Dr Clark at http://www.healthcarecom.net/CBCPieceofPie.htm.
Ada P Kahn, PhD: Foreword to "Encyclopedia of Work-Related Injuries, Illnesses and Health Issues." Dr Kahn came to Sacramento in February and I joined her on a Channel 31 interview about her book. I was privileged to write the foreword which we’ve posted at http://www.delmeyer.net/MedInfo2004.htm. To purchase the book, go to http://www.factsonfile.com/ and type in KAHN under search.
Henry Chang, MD: WEIGHT LOST FOREVER - The Five Second Guide to Permanent Weight Loss suggests daily weights to stem the weight loss before it becomes a problem and, if it does, how to take it off and keep it off. Congratulations to Dr Chang for winning the Sacramento Publishers and Authors 2004 award for “Best Health Book of the Year.” Read our review at http://www.healthcarecom.net/bkrev_WeightLostForever.htm.
Tammy Bruce: The Death of Right and Wrong (Understanding
the difference between the right and the left on our culture and values.), http://www.townhall.com/bookclub/bruce.html.
Reviewed by Courtney Rosenbladt.
An Alzheimer's Story: To read a touching story by a nurse about her Alzheimer's patient, go to http://www.delmeyer.net/MedInfo2003.htm.
An Entrepreneur's Story: AriadneCapital (http://www.AriadneCapital.com) provided the initial funding for MedicalTuesday and the Global Trademarking. Julie Meyer, the CEO, has a clear vision in her mind of the world that she wants to live in, and it's considerably different from how it looks now. If you're an entrepreneurial woman, or if you lost hope or are having difficulty envisioning success (if you'll forgive a little nepotism), the following article may be of interest to you. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1237363,00.html
Elmer Thomassen - 9 February 1921 -- 13 April 2004
Infatigueable Supporter of MedicalTuesday
We received this email from Dr Frank Brockway: Dr. Elmer Thomassen and I agreed that whoever lived the longest would say a few words in behalf of the one that was first to go. Doctor Thomassen passed away Tuesday, April 13. I knew Elmer for about 30 years. My relationship with him was vastly different than anyone else. I was a few months older than my best friend. His younger brother was a medical doctor also and had prostate surgery the very day that Elmer died. Elmer had a zest for life! All 10 children were at the services.
Dr Elmer, a retired Orthopaedic Surgeon (he always insisted on that spelling), was one of the most loyal supporters of MedicalTuesday. After he read one of the newsletters, he emailed me and came by Greyhound bus to Sacramento to give me hundreds of email addresses of colleagues he wanted me to introduce to MedicalTuesday. I think over the years he must have given me more than 700 orthopaedists. As he traveled, he added the names of the Priests and Monsignors of every Parish he visited telling them that it was important in their mission of freedom to worship to also support the freedom of his worshipers to obtain private non-government controlled medical care. He bought Greyhound passes that allowed him to visit his ten children and travel to a number of orthopaedic and other medical conferences. He would board in the evening and arrive the next day using the Greyhound as his sleeper. Greyhound became his Bus-Motel where he boarded with one suitcase and a bag for his food and juices. He nominated me for the $100,000 Bravewell Award to help fund MedicalTuesday. I told him I didn't qualify since I was not a alternative medicine specialist. He nominated me anyway and went to Minneapolis to plead my case. He told them unless MedicalTuesday was successful in restoring the private practice of medicine, there would be no alternative medicine. I saw him last at the October 2003 AAPS meeting in Point Clear, Alabama. He called me in March and said that he had checked into a University Hospital (I don't recall in what state he was traveling) for a swelling that turned out to be a lymphoma. I never heard from him again. I can certain echo Dr Brockway: Elmer indeed had a zest for life.
Frank Brockway was also a loyal supporter of MedicalTuesday and we thank him for this final note. Since we have not heard from him since this email several months ago and his email no longer works, perhaps someone could bring us up-to-date on him also.
On This Date in History - August 24
Destruction of Pompeii in 79 A.D. On this date in 79 A.D., a volcano named Vesuvius began a tremendous eruption; before it was over, two Roman cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, were wiped out. The ruins of Pompeii remain to this day as a reminder of how suddenly and how thoroughly a living city can cease to exist. If cities don't change, they run the risk of going the way of Pompeii, not through being buried under lava ash, but simply by falling apart and disintegrating.
The British Burned Washington in 1814. By odd
coincidence, the destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius and the burning of
Washington by the British in 1814, in the War of 1812, occurred on the same day
of the year. The British, of course, were infinitely more selective. They didn't
burn the whole city; they concentrated on the White House and other government
buildings. Then they went on to try to capture Baltimore, where they were
repulsed at the Battle of Fort McHenry and where Francis Scott Key was inspired
to write "The Star Spangled Banner." Washington was, of course,
rebuilt, and the British and the Americans, after a suitable lapse of time,
became the best of friends. Indeed, it has been said that the only thing really
separating the British and the Americans is their mutual illusion that they
speak the same language. Some Britons still maintain that the Americans
"haven't spoken English in years."
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