Monday, June 20, 2011
tell me more
Today's round table for "Tell Me More" was a lot of fun. Of course, with only 17 minutes of alloted airtime and 4 panelists (Dr. Siebert and I were joined by Dr. Randi Hutter Epstein, medical journalist and author of "Get Me Out of Here"; and Dr. Laura Ment, Dean of Admissions and Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine), there was barely enough time to scratch the surface of the issue, but scratch it we did. Scored it, in fact.
Given the time constraints, there's always things that you wish you'd gotten a chance to say but didn't (though I'm particularly grateful that I didn't say something I wish I hadn't--as sometimes can happen, see: my oral board prep sessions #s 1, 2, 4 and 6), but of all the things we didn't get a chance to touch on, here's the one thing I wish I'd said most of all: it's about choices. The choice to do and be what you want. The choice to become the Dean of the Medical School. The choice to become the Chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. The choice to cut back on clinical hours so as to spend more time with one's family. The choice to do good, and "above all, do no harm," in the way that seems best and most appropriate for each individual and those they care for. All talk of indebtedness and societal obligation aside, the mark of an advanced society is the freedom its constituents, and what I really want, above all, is for ability for doctors--yes, even doctors--to make any of these choices, and for these choices to not be so polarizing as to have to inspire a national debate.
Segment will air on "Tell Me More" tomorrow (trimmed for length), and the full roundtable will be available online. Thanks to all my intelligent and insightful colleagues for the rousing discussion, and to the lovely Michel Martin and NPR for getting us all together.