At THCB we regularly repost content from other blogs and we delight in giving those authors access to a different audience as well as giving our audience access to other viewpoints that I and the team here frequently don’t agree with. However, sometimes we make mistakes and this post represents one of those times. This post originally was published on the Sermo blog as an example of a community post–one that non-MDs cannot access–which stirred a lot of controversy on Sermo. This post attracted more than 200 comments on Sermo, and they highlighted it on the Sermo blog from which we syndicated it.
But unlike how we originally bylined and presented it on THCB, this post was not written by Daniel Palestrant MD, CEO of Sermo, and does not represent Sermo’s corporate opinion, and I can assure you definitely does not represent Daniel’s personal opinion.
The first 19 comments on THCB come from people who we misled by our error into thinking this was Daniel’s post. We’d like to apologize to Daniel, Sermo, drspuds and our readers.
But as this post (like it or not) does represent the view of at least one physician and maybe rather more, we’re going to keep it up on THCB-–Matthew Holt
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Dear Mr. and Mrs. America, by Sermo member “drspuds”
You live in one of the greatest countries on earth, one of the
richest ones, yet arguably not one of the best for medicine.
You may question why that is. I think I may have some
answers. Essentially, you want to have your cake and eat it too.
When you are sick or injured, you want the best healthcare money
can buy. But you want someone else to pay for it. You
feel should not be made to pay for things that are not your fault,
as you perceive it.
When you do not feel you have gotten the best healthcare someone
else’s money can buy, you scream, yell, threaten and generally act
like a child. Then you demand to be respected as an adult.
You take the same approach to “free” care, such as telephone calls,
disability paperwork and public aid.
When your treatment does not go as you planned, you want to keep the legal option to sue a doctor for “everything he’s got”, but want to keep “good” doctors in your community so you don’t have to drive 6 hours to get your brain tumor operated on.
You want to be able to drink and smoke as much as you want, and then when years of beating the crap out of yourself makes its presence known, you want us to rescue you. We told you 40 years ago not to smoke. Now you want us to save your life from the CAD, emphysema and lung cancer you caused.
You want to drive a car at 90 mph while drunk, “because I’m having fun” but want us to put all the pieces back together when the inevitable happens.
You want a single-dose pill to take care of anything that ails you, aka the “magic pill.” But you complain about the realistic medications you will need to take every day for the rest of your life. 20 years ago, these pills did not exist and you would have had only a few years left to live. Now we can keep you around for many more years for you to keep complaining about the pills you have to take.
You complain about the 3 antihypertensives, the 2
cholesterol-lowering drugs, the glucophage and other pills keeping
you alive and adding years to your life, while refusing to quit
smoking, cut down the drinking, eat healthier and get some exercise
once in a while.
You spend a ton of money on highly-processed,
marginally-tasteful, completely unhealthy food, and then ask us for
a pill to help you lose weight. 90% of the treadmills you own are
collecting dust or acting as coat racks.
You want a “lifestyle” pill for every unpleasant symptom you
have. You’d rather not do the therapies that can effectively treat
your insomnia, you just want a sleeping pill. Besides, all
those commercials on TV for Ambien, Sonata and the others tell you
you are entitled to a good night’s sleep, by pill if necessary.
You use the ER as your primary care provider, then complain
about the wait to be seen there for a URI.
You give us vague complaints, with vague histories and onsets of
symptoms and then ask us to make a specific diagnosis.
You demand tests without any knowledge of what “false-positive”
means or its potential implications for you. You don’t consider the
downside of testing.
You have asked for, and now get “informed consent” before any
treatment, but don’t want to be held responsible for your part in
the decision-making process when things don’t go well.
Birth control is an option, one you have often declined to
use. Now the rest of us get the pleasure of helping to pay
for that little bundle of joy you didn’t want and the “father”
declines to acknowledge. Hopefully we can help you finish your GED
so you can meaningfully contribute to society rather than live off
You want to legalize marijuana, “because it’s safer than
alcohol” or so you think. Two bad things apparently make one
You want opioids to be available anytime you deem your pain
severe us to deserve them, but don’t want us to restrict them
simply because a bunch of yahoos use the recreationally or for
income. The fact that we have been burned so many times by so many
people should have no bearing on you, the seemingly-legitimate pain
You want us to trust you implicitly to follow our
recommendations, yet you don’t trust us enough to finish taking an
antibiotic for 10 days when we tell you to. Many times you don’t
even trust us enough fill the prescriptions we write.
You take whatever the guy at GNC says you should take, and pay
him ridiculous amounts of money for unproven therapies, then
question us on every potential side effect for anything we
prescribe that has gone through a full FDA approval process. And
you reserve the right to sue us and the pill manufacturer (and the
pharmacist who sold it to you) should you have a side-effect from
it, even if we warned you about it.
You argue with us about co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket
expenses that we have no control over. Take it to your
insurance company or employer.
You want your doctor available 24/7/365, but you want him or her
to be well-rested when you come in.
You raise hell when you are made to wait 15 minutes in the
waiting room, while your fellow citizens arrive 20 minutes late,
with 3 young kids in tow for the annual pap smear. You then
want to take up 30 minutes of my time addressing every health
concern you have despite booking only one 15-minute time slot.
Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. America, you cannot have things both
ways. You cannot have “free” healthcare that covers anything
and everything. You cannot have an unhealthy lifestyle and
expect to be kept healthy by us.
You have been given the knowledge and resources to prevent or
treat most any disease or injury known to man, and you have
declined the opportunities repeatedly. Instead, you have
opted for the “quick fix” so you can get back to your life of
And I’ll still be here, for a while anyway, trying to fix the
things you’ve broken.
Daniel Palestrant, MD is the Founder & CEO of Sermo, Inc. A frequent contributor to THCB, his work also appears on the FtF blog at Sermo.com, where this piece first appeared.