Published Articles

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...