May 31, 2015

Overkill describes the problem PERFECTLY!

Dr. Atul Gawande’s new article called Overkill is a great asset for all of us change agents. The tagline is:  “An avalanche of unnecessary medical care is harming patients physically and financially.  What can we do about it?”   It appeared in the May 4 issue of the New Yorker magazine.  The topic is “no value” healthcare, and he describes both over-diagnosis and over-treatment.  Me and my gang know that those things also create over-impairment and over-disabling — and ruined lives!

Recommendation:  Use this article as a tool to educate yourself – and others!  It is much better than most of the stuff on this general topic in medical journals and august scientific publications  – because he explains things so clearly and in such simple yet vivid language.   There’s a powerful vignette of a guy with two prior spine surgeries whose local doctor recommends a third one – and how the story turns out.    A happy aspect of the Overkill article is that Gawande also describes how the dark forces that are driving these things are being countered by more positive ones.  Things are slowly and spottily changing FOR THE BETTER!

I am ashamed at my petty jealous hatred for this man — because he is handsome, brilliant, insightful, incredibly talented, articulate, frank, and a fabulous writer.    He has been a columnist for the New Yorker since 1998.  Based  on his photograph, he must have been a baby then.   I’ve read several of his articles and books, and recommend them to you.   In particular, if you want to be sickened at how the constant emphasis on money has corrupted the physician culture, read his earlier article entitled The Cost Conundrum – like the White House did.   I’ve just finished his latest book Being Mortal.  It is wonderful — richly informative yet with a very positive tone and personal feeling.    See more about Gawande on the New Yorker’s Contributors webpage or on Gawande’s own website.

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