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Ben Carson, the new hero of the Right

Ben Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon

Just a little over a month ago, pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson stood at the national prayer breakfast getting ready to deliver his keynote address. Ben Carson is probably the most famous surgeon in the United States. Doctor Carson gained national notoriety back in the mid-1980s when he separated conjoined twins who were joined at the head. It was a 22-hour operation. Since then, he has written many books and even started his own foundation. On February 7, 2013, he became a darling of the Right. He attacked Obama’s healthcare plan. (It really wasn’t his plan, but was more an amorphous piece of legislation that he signed.) He attacked taxes on the rich. He also attacked political correctness. The right wing went wild. Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked Doctor Carson if he would run for president because Hannity would vote for him “in a heartbeat.”

I have no idea if Ben Carson is interested in running for president. I have no idea whether he is interested in a career in politics. I do know that the political landscape is a pit filled with landmines. Although you can get attention by speaking out, nobody in this country really wants to do anything. Sure, people say they want to do X or Y but when you actually propose the ideas they don’t want to get it done. Getting things done in this country requires finesse. As I mentioned last week, we are an oppositional society. We will oppose almost anything. We love clean air and clean water but we oppose any legislation that is designed to achieve those goals.

Ben Carson got himself into some trouble.

From TPM:

Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, on Tuesday called hetero-sexual marriage “a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”

Students at Johns Hopkins have since circulated a petition to replace Carson, who’s retiring this year, as the university’s commencement speaker. He told Mitchell that he’s willing to honor those students’ wishes.

The only advice that I have for Doctor Carson is that it is very easy to give a speech to a small room of like-minded individuals. It is even pretty easy to give a speech to a large room of like-minded individuals. It is really difficult to give a speech to America. Somebody is going to be offended. Somebody is going to take that offense to their core. Whether it is Mitt Romney with his 47% comment or Barack Obama with his cling to their guns comment, right now it is difficult to find consensus on almost any subject in the United States. Even if you have an “overwhelming” majority, that means 70% of Americans agree with you. It also means that 30% of Americans disagree with you. That is somewhere over 90 million Americans. That’s a lot of people.

All I can do is wish Doctor Ben Carson well in his future endeavors.

By |2013-03-31T11:06:54-04:00March 29th, 2013|Other Political Thoughts, Party Politics|7 Comments

One of the reasons why healthcare doesn’t work

As a doctor, I live and breath healthcare. I’m one of those doctors who is smack dab in the middle of healthcare. I can’t do my job without a hospital. As a trauma surgeon, I need the support structure that a fully equiped hospital provides. Because I live in the Blue Ridge mountains, I take care of people from all around this beautiful country. Thousands of people come here to see the mountains. Thankfully, only a few injure themselves while they are here.

Currently, I’m taking care of a young man who lives in Florida. He crashed his motorcycle. He had a terrible head injury which required emergency neurosurgery in order to evacuate an expanding epidural hemorrhage. The patient has insurance. He is now much better and we need to figure out how to get him back to Florida. Here’s where the “fun” begins.

So, for 3 days the hospital social worker is trying to find a rehab facility to take care of this patient. Then we need to make sure that this facility takes the patient’s insurance. Next, we have to make sure that the insurance company will pay for the patient’s rehab and transport to Florida. Finally, and this is really choice, the facility requires the sending doctor to find a receiving doctor. Have you ever tried to get a single MD on the phone? Now, try to get two doctors together at the same time. (I have been waiting for a return call for more than an hour. Just waiting…)

This is nothing but a huge waste of time. All of this needs to be streamlined so that the patient is taken care of effectively. We need a system that is designed around the patient.

By |2011-10-03T15:59:19-04:00October 3rd, 2011|Healthcare|1 Comment

Giffords following some commands

It is still very early in the recovery of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

From TPM:

A doctor said Sunday that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was “able to communicate with us this morning” by following simple commands.

Doctors issued an update on the condition of Giffords on Sunday morning at the hospital in Arizona where Giffords is being held following the shooting incident at a town hall meeting Giffords was holding yesterday.

“We are very encouraged by that,” Dr. Michael Lemole, Jr., the chief of neurosurgery at the University Medical Center in Tuscon, told reporters. “I am cautiously optimistic.”

Also speaking was Peter Rhee, the medical director of University Medical Center’s Trauma and Critical Care.

“Brain swelling is really the biggest threat at this point,” said one doctor.

The doctor confirmed that Giffords is now in a medical coma. When she entered the medical center yesterday, bleeding was not severe, one doctor said.

By |2011-01-09T16:07:59-04:00January 9th, 2011|Domestic Issues|Comments Off on Giffords following some commands
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