Coping with Antibiotic Resistance

Claude Bernard is reported as saying the he could eat Pasteur’s anthrax with impunity. Not many today have his nerve; we have gone down Pasteur’s pathway where the fearful germs are the focus, and all our efforts are aimed at destroying them. Following that path has led to much success, but also to a lot […]

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Bacterial Infections and the Flu

We recently returned from a trip to find that a close friend had died in the week we were gone. From healthy to dead in a week is what we are sometimes seeing with the current flu. These deaths are reported to be associated with bacterial infections that appear only as the flu. Most of […]

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Whatever Happened to Honoring Defenses?

This post is based on a presentation given in the Dupont Summit conference dealing with science and public policy at the Carnegie Institute of Science in Washington DC on December 7, 2012. The session was on complexity as a paradigm game changer. Understood was the fact that our thinking remains stuck in the mechanical model […]

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Making Health Care Affordable

Saving American Health and Healthcare: A view from the margins. If Wendell Berry is right then we ought not to be looking to our temples of healing and learning for solutions to our health care problems. Real solutions require seeing the problems differently and that is hard for the experts. In the following we propose […]

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How Blood-Letting Can Transform Medicine

Transformation is all about how we see ourselves in the world. We are stuck if we limit that view to the egos we have constructed over the course of our lives. Expanding that model is what all transformation is about. The model is a paradigm in Thomas Kuhn’s sense of the word; when it is […]

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Medicare Reform?

Medicare reform is shaping up to be the issue for our time. “We, the people,” like our bread buttered on both sides and we don’t like change. But Medicare is continuing to grow faster than we can afford. While retirees’ Social Security is fairly well covered for a few decades, Medicare is not; we do […]

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What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

Michael Sandel’s new book by this title reopens an issue we covered in our book as it deals with health care and makes a much broader argument for the fact that there are lots of areas that are best dealt with outside of the marketplace. In slavery people were for sale, and we don’t have […]

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Letter to Berwick

An open letter to Don Berwick Dear Don, I was really glad when President Obama chose you to lead the Department of Health ad Human Services. First of all you’re a pediatrician; that means you chose to forego the higher income specialties to provide primary care to children. Then your work with the Institute for […]

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Seeing with New Eyes

Einstein was right on when he said that we can’t fix our problems as long as we think the same way we did when we created them. That holds true in lots of areas in our world, but it is especially applicable to healthcare; and the need to see our problems differently is fundamental to […]

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Common Sense Medicine

Welcome to Common Sense Medicine ® where we try to see our bodies and the practice of medicine that we have established to care for them in a new way. Before studying medicine I got a graduate degree in the history of science and ideas so I am interested in why we do things the […]

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*Insurance is designed to pay for the unexpected crisis. Health insurance started that way in the U.S. but gradually, because the companies we work for were paying for it and getting a better tax break, it morphed into paying for it all. That means we have less interest in getting the ounce of prevention than if we were paying for some of those costs. Children we talk to about the dangers of drugs just say they’ll get a brain transplant if they burn theirs out. That’s why we think that Health Savings Accounts should be promoted by the government more; they put the individual back in a position of responsibility in making more choices in their health care. With Health Savings Accounts an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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