Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!! 
You did not realize that it was a new year did you?  It is in the medical world.  On July 1st, the world of medical education graduates to a new year.  I have been aware of this new year many times over the past 20 years.  Over the past 12 years, though, July 1st has mainly been my anniversary.  As many of you know, we are on day 7 of Jill’s father Herb’s hospitalization for his laryngectomy.  So we have spent the last week at the OU medical center.  With the 1st falling on a Sunday, today is really the new year of medicine at the OU medical center.  We are seeing confused young men and women looking to make sense of the maze of charts and cranky nurses.  At the same time, they are trying to study about different illnesses so they can answer the “pimp” questions that will surely be coming from their residents and attendings.  I once read an article titled, “Don’t get sick in July”.  In this article, the author states that July is the worst time to get sick because in July, college students become medical students, medical students become interns, interns become residents and residents become attendings.  Everyone in a new position and learning new things.

 I am standing in “Presby Tower” (formerly Presbyterian hospital) remembering 16 years ago.  I started my internship in Presby Hospital on July 1st of 1996.  I was on an Internal Medicine rotation and I was supposed to be on call every 4 nights.  But, since I was the “off service” intern (Emergency Medicine intern working with the Internal Medicine team), I got the pleasure of taking call on the very first night, then getting to come back, just 3 nights later, on the 4th.  That day I was scared to death that the “code pager” was going to go off.  I was on my first day as a doctor, and I was responsible for all code blues in a big OKC hospital.  That night, I could not sleep, worried the pager would sound.  With time and experience, my anxiety about those situations lessened.  God was able to heal people despite my inexperience.

The following July, I became a licensed doctor, and started moonlighting some.  In July of 1998, I became an upper level resident and started to moonlight in Duncan and make schedules for our residency.  By July 1st of 2000, I was finished with my residency and our family moved to Duncan.  Come to think of it, more life changes have happened, for me, on the Medical New Year than on January 1st.  It was July 1st that I became a husband, a medical student, an intern, a resident, a “real” doctor, and it was July 1st of last year that our family woke up in Uganda, for the first time. God was able to bring Jill and I through all of these changes and bless our family each time.

I read an article this week that says US hospitals and Doctors spend 31 Billion each year on malpractice insurance.  Out of this staggering number, “only” 6 billion end up in the pockets of patients that have a malpractice claim.  The other 25 billion ends up in the pockets of malpractice attorneys and insurance companies.  In addition to this large number, another 650 Billion is spent on tests and studies to try to protect against malpractice suits.  My medical generation, the one before it, and every one since has been trained in an environment of malpractice avoidance.  In my humble opinion, I think that this is the biggest issue facing healthcare in the US.  We still have the greatest medical care in the world, it is just too expensive.  This additional 681 billion spent to avoid exposure to malpractice claims, adds greatly to the expense.

Herb is doing well.  He is recovering and is getting to sip on some water today to see how his swallowing is working. 

He is walking the halls and getting his strength back.  He met a man named Greg yesterday. 

Greg had a laryngectomy in January and he was able to encourage us and give us some pointers.  I think that this encounter was a very productive one.  Herb was introduced to a support group of men and women who live active lives after a laryngectomy.  God is able to bring Herb through this with a positive witness to help others.

Many of you may have seen this already, but our most current mission video, GOD IS ABLE, is up on youtube and we would be delighted if you would take a look at it.

Happy New Year!


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