Medical Sentinel Goes Bimonthly
We are happy to report the AAPS Board of Directors voted on Sept. 17 to authorize funding for the Medical Sentinel to be published bimonthly (six issues per year) beginning in 1998 with this issue. For the enthusiastic reception the readers have given the publication, we thank you. Editor-in-Chief
Remember the Alamo!
The Sixth Annual Meeting of the American Society of Dermatology (ASD), held at the beautiful La Mansion del Rio Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, from October 3-5, 1997 was extremely well attended — a resounding success! Topics ranged from laser surgery for dermatological lesions to socioeconomics, politics, and medical ethics. All dermatologists owe it to themselves to belong to this organization dedicated to the ideals of the private, independent practice of medicine. John A. Kasch, M.D. is President, and Don Printz, M.D., past-president of AAPS, is now President-Elect of ASD. The ASD is the only organization founded exclusively on the political and socioeconomic interests of dermatologists in private practice. For more information contact, American Society of Dermatology, 441 Hamilton Blvd., Suite 1006, Peoria, IL 61602. (309) 676-4074.
AAPS 54th Annual Meeting
Those of you who missed the 54th Annual Meeting of the AAPS (September 18-20, 1997) in Chicago, “the windy city,” missed an inspirational meeting. Those of you who attended not only heard great speakers, received intellectual ammunition and got your medical batteries recharged, but also were entertained grandly with good food, splendid entertainment, and as always, overwhelming camaraderie. Moreover, the singing and mirth conducted by Dr. Lawrence Huntoon was by itself worth the trip!
Video and audio cassette tapes are available for purchase from AAPS headquarters. See page 31 in this issue.
A New Prospective Surgeon General
On September 12, 1997, President Clinton nominated David Satcher, M.D., PhD to the post of Surgeon General. Dr. Satcher, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1993 was President of Meharry Medical College from 1982-1993. Despite the fact that Dr. Satcher was recently revealed to have been a member of the Clinton Health Care Task Force of 1993 that operated behind closed doors in violation of the FACA statues (Sunshine Laws) as demonstrated in AAPS v. Clinton, “the AMA has endorsed the nomination and called for a quick confirmation by the Senate.” (AMNews, October 6, 1997)
Under his watch, Meharry College was a recipient of millions of dollars in grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; nevertheless, it has since lost its accreditation. Besides the usual accolades, as director of the CDC, Dr. Satcher has also been criticized for presiding over biased, politicized, result-oriented research conducted by the CDC on “firearm injuries” (see the Spring and Summer 1997 issues of the Medical Sentinel), and for the “ethics” of HIV research conducted in Africa and the politicization of AIDS in the U.S., as “the first government-protected disease.” Many groups have asserted that under the auspices of the CDC AIDS has been treated as a civil rights issue, rather than as the public health menace that it is, as is evident by the toll it has taken on the nearly 400,000 Americans who have died of the disease.
The CDC has refused to aptly use the public health model on AIDS, which is not only applicable but essential. Yet, it insists on applying this model to the problem of violence (for gun control) to which it does not apply.
Mother Teresa, RIP
On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa died in India at age 87. She had bountiful compassion, moral fortitude, and an iron will for helping people truly in need, beginning with the impoverished masses, “the poorest of the poor,” in the slums of Calcutta. She was a true humanitarian who during her long life ruffled many feathers because she would not compromise her principles. I remember toward the end of the Cold War, when things were still hot in Central America, Mother Teresa was asked her opinion of [the Marxist] liberation theology so prevalent in the liberal clergy then serving in Central America. She responded, “I don’t know about liberation theology. All I know is that theology is suppose to be about God.” The journalist, reported National Review (February 5, 1991), unsatisfied with the answer, rephrased his question asking “whether the church should not only feed the poor but also help them reform unjust regimes. ‘How can you change a society,’ Mother Teresa asked, ‘if you don’t first bring individuals face-to-face with God?’ ” By upholding the teachings of Christianity and basic compassion, Mother Teresa transcended politics and made the Marxist arguments for coercive egalitarianism irrelevant. Mother Teresa, rest in peace.
Books in Brief
Do HMOs Cut Costs...and Lives? by Emerita T. Gueson, MD, Theresevision Publications, P.O. Box 39, Bensalem, PA 19020, 1997, 291 pp., ISBN: 0-9653861-0-4, $32.99 (Hardcover).
With courage and passion, Dr. Gueson hands down a serious indictment of the managed care/HMO industry. You cannot help but admire her tenacity and courage going all out to expose the iniquities and inequities of the system. With accounts of personal experience and torrents of damaging evidence, she describes in graphic detail the plight faced by independent physicians attempting to practice Hippocratic medicine in today’s health care environment. She also painstakingly reviewed all the documented cases of patient injury by HMOs in Pennsylvania and listed them with a brief discussion of the case and outcome. She also listed and briefly described all the pertinent evolving litigation derived from HMO cost containment measures and loss of quality of care in the U.S. An eye-opener, this book should be read by all physicians, patients, as well as all state and federal legislators.
Capitalism — A Treatise on Economics by George Reisman, Jameson/LPC, 1996, 1096 pp., ISBN: 0-915463-73-3, $95.00 (Hardcover).
“Exhaustive survey and an impassioned manifesto” in defense of free market capitalism. This large tome had excellent reviews in such magazines as Fortune (April 28, 1997), The Freeman (May 1997), and Publishers Weekly (November 18, 1996).
Judith’s Pavilion: The Haunting Memories of a Neurosurgeon by Marc Flitter, MD. Steerforth Press, P.O. Box 70, South Royalton, VT 05068, 1997, 227 pp., ISBN: 1-883642-31-0, $24.00 (Hardcover).
The book is named after a patient who unexpectedly died in Dr. Flitter’s operating room — a fictionalized hospital ward populated by patients Dr. Flitter will not forget. A reviewer wrote, “Many pages in this book are given to honest self-scrutiny, even professional acknowledgment of errors made — an authorial voice anxious to level with the reader, and also a voice that is convincing, affecting, original, and eloquent...”
More Good Reading
The October 1997 issue of The Freeman — Ideas on Liberty, the journal of the Foundation for Economic Education, is a must read for the defenders of freedom and individual autonomy. Besides the excellent vignettes of such champions of individual liberty as the forgotten Algernon Sidney (1622-1683; England) and Benjamin Constant (1767-1830; Switzerland/France), this issue debunks several modern liberal myths in its review of three promising new books:
Environmentalism is about Conservation: The Cross and the Rain Forest — A Critique of Radical Green Spirituality by Robert Whelan, Joseph Kirwan, and Paul Haffner, debunks the myth that eco-environmentalism is about economics and conservation, rather than philosophy and religion. This book exposes the philosophic underpinnings of historian Lynn White, who in a 1966 speech entitled, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” attributed the “ecologic crisis” to the Christian tradition, asserting, “Christianity insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends...[and that] Christianity was the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen.” This book vividly “illuminates the religious nature of the [coming environmental] conflict...”
The Need for Government to Subsidize Scientific Research: The Economic Laws of Scientific Research by Terence Kealey refutes the modern liberal conventional wisdom that government is necessary to provide for scientific research and development in the public good. Reviewer George C. Leef writes: “[The author] has penned a thought-provoking book that blends economic theory with the history of science to challenge the idea that we need or even benefit from government support for scientific research...Politicized science turns out to be just as wasteful as politicized housing, education, transportation, or anything else.”
Unique Public Television Programming: PBS: Behind the Screen by Laurence Jarvik exposes the slogan, “If PBS won’t do it, who will?” for what it is, a myth. PBS is a protected government-subsidized monopoly that despite a $2 billion budget and “a 1,000-station radio and TV network of news, instruction, and entertainment” garners only 2% of the U.S. audience. Rare conservative/libertarian shows such as Bill Buckley’s “Firing Line” exemplifies “the triumph of tokenism.” Returning to “...who will?” The book answers: “How about the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, A & E, and other upscale, if for profit, television channels?”
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1998;3(1):3-4. Copyright © 1998 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).