Today’s healthcare news:
I’ll start with Juliet Eilperin’s coverage of the healthcare bill in the Washington Post, “From hospitals, doctors, and patients, a last gasp of opposition to the Senate health-care bill,” A Daily Princetonian alumna, the Post’s senior national affairs correspondent, she tells of how hospitals have mounted unusual lobbying efforts. ‘While McConnell had been pressing for a vote on the measure before the end of June, the delay gave opponents more time to marshal their arguments and make their case to lawmakers. This final lobbying push represents opponents’ best chance of derailing McConnell’s final drive to passage, which continues to look uncertain.’
Today the CEO of Incyte, Herve Hoppenot, speaks at the Princeton Regional chamber lunch. Look for me in a striped jacket. At age six I ‘worked’ in my parents’ cancer research lab and 70 years later I have a vested interest in new cancer cures.
“There are few sectors as resistant to change as government and health care,” says Susannah Fox, CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her interview with Laura Landro is in the Wall Street Journal today. “We count on their stability. But I have seen those two millstones grind a great idea down to powder. I’ve also seen initiatives flourish and grow, nurtured on the strong platform that this agency provides.”
Here is the interview.
My take: In this election season, the image of government-as-inexorably-slow-millstone actually offers a modicum of comfort.
Disclosure: She is my daughter.
Above: Millstones from Evans Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Fleet Street, Liverpool. Used for grinding drugs from c.1846-1948. Catalyst Science Discovery Centre.
Photo by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42180642
Anna Quindlen made a speech to healthcare professionals about how doctors should treat patients and their families. Her 83-year-old father had recently died from burns over 40 percent of his body. She praised his caregivers.
As you would imagine, her words are potent. “They put a human face, a series of human faces, on my father’s care.” Her speech is online at HumanizingMedicine.org, and read it now because it will be taken off the web in December.
In her comments on medicine Quindlen talks about journalism. Newspapers used to be faceless dispensers of information, and readers “had their back fences to chew over their tragedies, their disappointments, and their dreams.” Now newspapers use social media to facilitate those discussions.
She likens the power relationships inherent in medicine with the power that journalists have. When interviewed, you have every good reason to wonder whether I will get your story right — or wrong. But doctors have power over our very lives.
And so she makes the case for empowered patients, patients and family members who are armed with knowledge, who want to be treated as individuals. “People want the press to see them . . . as a person. They want the doctors and nurses to see them as something more than files. . . We are part of a society that has suddenly discovered that it has no human face and that is terrified and repelled by that fact. ”
I learned of Quindlen’s speech from another of my favorite writers.