Published Articles

Tuesday, June 1, 1993

As you may or may not know, there are no physicians from organized medicine serving on Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Health Care Task Force—MDs who represent practitioners and their patients. Those MDs who are on the task force, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), are mostly “federal employees” who do not represent the profession. It is reasonable to assume that more likely they represent the bureaucracies whence they came and which sign their paychecks.

A few years ago, I believe it was at the time of his ascension to the top of the AMA totemic hierarchy, Dr. James S. Todd, Executive Vice-President of the AMA, announced quite ceremoniously we had entered a “new era of cooperation, not confrontation.” And indeed, a new era began. But, it has not been an era of mutual cooperation, as we were led to believe, in which government and medicine entered a new phase of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the medical profession and their patients on the one hand, and the government policymakers and bureaucrats on the other. Instead of cooperation, we have been ushered down a one-way street of progressive government intrusion into the practice of medicine,...



Wednesday, May 5, 1993

A half-truth is a whole lie.
Jewish Proverb

Anything repeated three times in Washington becomes fact.
Eugene McCarthy

In a previous article entitled "Crisis in Health Care Delivery," I wrote: “Only 4% of the [American] population lacks health insurance for two years or longer,” and hinted at the fact the actual number of truly chronically uninsured and underinsured was less than the number the media and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had promulgated before and during the Presidential campaign—the 34-37 million so often quoted.(1) Well, it turns out Dr. Francis Davis, publisher of Private Practice, has also disclosed in a recent editorial the work of Alan Reynolds, director of economic research at the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis, who called the much touted number of uninsured “this year’s (1992) big lie” in a Detroit News article.(2)

The CBO has done it again.  As you will remember, it was the CBO which both suggested and estimated that millions of dollars in revenues could be obtained by “soaking the rich” in the form of taxation of luxury yachts. What really happened was that...



Tuesday, December 1, 1992

Abstract: On June 30, 1559, King Henry II of France (1519-1559), against the advice of his court ministers, participated in a fateful joust. The wooden lance of his younger opponent pierced the King's headgear, shattered into fragments, and penetrated his right orbit and temple. The King survived for 11 days following the mortal wound and was treated by two of the most distinguished physicians of the Renaissance: Ambroise Paré (1510-1590), the master surgeon, and Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), the great anatomist. The unfortunate event, the nature of the injury, and the medical consultation between these eminent physicians should all be of interest to neurosurgeons. The historical consequences of this event are briefly reviewed.

In the spring of 1559, King Henry II of France (1519-1559), his Florentine wife Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), and their royal progeny were poised and seemingly destined for glory.(Fig.1)

Their young son Francis II had married the spirited and attractive Mary Queen of Scots the previous year in an extravagant ceremony. Now the royal couple planned lavish festivities for the upcoming marriages of Henry's sister Marguerite to the...

Keyword(s): medical history


Tuesday, December 1, 1992

Acquiescence is the trademark of the slave.
Aristotle (4th Century B.C.)

The issue of whether we will remain an independent and compassionate profession or become an enslaved government trade union will not be clearly evident until some time after the Presidential election. For one thing, the conservative health care planners have been silenced by the media, and the Congressional democrats (73%) favor socialized medicine either in the form of National Health Insurance (NHI) or Universal Medicare-type coverage (RBRVS) as previously advocated by Congressmen “Pete” Stark (D-CA) and Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL). So you ask, “What about the future of health care?”

We appear to be poised for a uniquely American version of socialized medicine—apparently, we do not learn from other people’s mistakes. Moreover, to placate conservative critics, the health care reform package will have a veneer of “free-market” capitalism covering a hard core of socialism, RBRVS concepts and rationing.

From the capitalist school, we will be compassionately coerced to work twice as hard as before to make up for the decrease in reimbursement inherent to RBRVS...



Monday, November 2, 1992

In the late 1980s with the end of the Golden Age of Ronald Reagan and the early 1990s with the ascendancy of George Bush to the presidency, calls began to be heard about a looming “crisis” in health care delivery and solutions were proposed to reform the system. Three issues were widely identified by the mainstream media and the medical literature as being responsible for the crisis: (1) soaring medical costs, (2) perceived high U.S. perinatal mortality statistics, and (3) the “growing” number of the uninsured needing universal coverage. I set out to discuss these issues in juxtaposition with the fully socialized health care systems that we find today in Great Britain and Canada—health care systems which are beginning to unravel under the pressure of increasing costs and government inefficiency, infinite demand, limited resources, and unbearable taxation.

Moreover, I brought to the forefront two other issues I posited (and still believe) to be the true culprits behind the real “crisis”—(4) the medical liability crisis, and (5) growing government intrusion into the medical arena which increasingly foments mutual mistrust in the patient-doctor relationship and has led to...



Wednesday, January 2, 1991

We applaud the successful efforts of Dr., Miguel Faria, a Macon neurosurgeon, to round up medical equipment and supplies for war-torn El Salvador.

Faria, who practices at HCA Coliseum Medical Centers, toured El Salvador last spring and was shocked at the acute shortages of things like beds, wheelchairs and physical therapy equipment as well as of medications. Both military and civilian victims of the civil war between the leftist guerrillas ("terrorists" to Faria) and the U.S.-backed government were getting inadequate treatment.

Faria persuaded the chief executive officer of the Hospital Corporation of America, Dr. Thomas Frist, to survey HCA hospitals for functional but unneeded equipment, then collect it and send it to El Salvador. Well over $550,000 worth of equipment arrived there this fall as a result.

Enmeshed in politics though the question of aid to El Salvador is, we can all join in applauding the humanitarian efforts of Dr. Faria, Dr. Frist and their HCA colleagues.

Macon Telegraph Editorial Board

Keyword(s): humanitarian efforts


Tuesday, December 25, 1990

When Dr. Miguel Faria, toured a military hospital in civil war-torn El Salvador last March, he was struck by the acute shortages of medical equipment and supplies.

Many of the patients both soldiers and civilians, were amputees - the victims of land mines planted throughout the countryside. But the hospital, Faria said, didn't have nearly enough physical therapy or other equipment and supplies to help those patients, largely because of a lack of space.

"I was very much shocked by what I saw," said Faria, a Macon neurosurgey at HCA Coliseum Medical Centers. "They just didn't seem to have enough of everything."

Shortly after his return to Macon, he wrote to Dr. Thomas Frist, founder and CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, with a proposal.

"I had in mind that we would send any supplies we could from the corporation" to El Salvador, Faria said. "Not just from the hospital in Macon, but from anyplace we could find them."

Liking the idea, Frist contacted all HCA hospitals in the United States and asked them to compile a list of all the equipment they could spare. Several months were spent making arrangements for HCA to ship the supplies. Finally...

Keyword(s): humanitarian efforts


Saturday, September 1, 1990

Praised by Napoleon as "the worthiest man I ever met," Dominique-Jean Larrey (1766-1842), his legendary surgeon, was born in Beaudean, a little village in the Pyrenees. Orphaned at age 13, he was raised by his uncle, Alexis, who was chief surgeon at Toulouse. After studying and serving as his surgical apprentice for 6 years, Larrey went to Paris. There, he studied under the great French surgeon, Desault, who was Chief of Surgery at the Hotel Dieu. Unfortunately, his studies were interrupted when war came to France.

The young man promptly answered his nation's call and signed up for duty. He was assigned to the frigate Vigilante in the French Navy, but he soon had to resign because of chronic seasickness. He returned to Paris where he worked at both Desault's clinic in the Hotel Dieu and as field surgeon at Les Invalides. By 1790, Larrey had established himself as assistant Senior Surgeon at Les Invalides, and not long after serving in the army, he met Napoleon Bonaparte who was then commander of an artillery brigade.

In 1792, at the time revolutionary France was battling the First Coalition, Larrey became a field doctor with the rank of Major of the Army of the...



Sunday, June 3, 1990

I read with interest the article by Robert J. Coffey, M.D., entitled "International Perspective: Neurological Surgery in Nicaragua." The article was informative in its description of neurological surgery per se, but it was unfortunately saturated with much political propaganda (albeit in a neurological journal), which requires some criticism. First, the practice of medicine (and neurosurgery) would not have been as primitive as it was in Nicaragua in 1989 with the Sandinistas if it wasn't for a misdelegation of priorities. While the people of Nicaragua do not have available a CT scan or MRI, or even the Seldinger catheterization technique for angiography, the Sandinistas had a standing offensive army 300,000 strong (total population: 3.5 million). While they cannot afford a CT scanner to diagnose a patient with a brain tumor (not to mention treatment with radiotherapy), they possess advanced helicopters, "flying tanks," and MIG fighters, which are expensive weapons of destruction beyond what is needed for the defensive needs of a small nation. I have a photograph of my wife holding a surface-to-air missile (SAM-7) that was captured in November 1989 from a downed Nicaraguan...