Doctor in the House

The above title refers to a recent book written by Congressman Michael Burgess, 26th District in Texas.  Dr. Burgess, who for 25 years was a practicing physician (OB/GYN) in North Texas, ran for Congress in 2002 against a famous name in Republican politics.  House Majority Leader Dick Armey announced in late 2001 that he would not run again.  His son, Scott Armey, the presumptive heir to the seat, began campaigning for the GOP nomination.  

Burgess, who relates in the book the fire in the belly he experienced after the 9/11 terrorist attack, began to seek advice on how to run a political campaign.  One of his most enthusiastic supporters was Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, who told him he'd "be perfect."  With several other aspirants in the race, Burgess ended up in a runoff with Armey, but soon emerged victorious in the runoff and the general election.  The book takes the reader on an informative journey that begins with the author's description of his grandfather's medical practice in Canada, followed by his father's medical career that began in Noranda, Quebec, "a tiny mining village in the Canadian wilderness nearly 400 miles northwest of Montreal," but soon moved to the United States, ultimately settling in Denton, Texas.

Describing aspects of his own career, Dr. Burgess writes about the way breast cancer used to be viewed when he started medical school in 1974.

Back then, there was no screening per se. Once a woman or her physician discovered a breast lump, she was scheduled for a biopsy. Before that biopsy began, however, the patient signed a consent form for a radical mastectomy. The conventional wisdom at the time was that if you operate and the biopsy reveals that the lump is malignant, you increased the likelihood of dissemination of disease if you didn't proceed immediately to the radical mastectomy. It made the whole process unbelievably unsettling for women. The statistics said most lumps were benign. Nevertheless, we were asking women to consent to and be prepped for a radical mastectomy before we even knew whether or not there was a malignancy.

Burgess points to the progress that has been made:

For example, when I started practice, if I recommended a mammogram to someone, it was an intensely emotional, even traumatic event. The patient would go home and tell her husband, "The doctor has scheduled me for a mammogram. He must think I have breast cancer." That was our old world. Now we're in a world in which mammograms are considered routine.

The congressman writes about the huge rise in malpractice insurance rates in the mid-1970s:

An increasing number of Americans seemed to think catching a doctor in a mistake (real or perceived), or sometimes simply experiencing a negative outcome was tantamount to winning the lottery or hitting the jackpot. A new breed of plaintiff attorneys specializing in suing doctors, hospitals and drug companies started amassing astonishing fortunes by encouraging that very mindset.

Stressing the need for tort reform, Burgess writes:

Although the pockets of plaintiff's lawyers get filled, this abuse of the court system exacts costs that go far beyond the jury awards and rising liability insurance premiums. The hidden costs to our economy are staggering. More and more doctors today at every level of the medical system feel forced to practice what has come to be called "defensive medicine," routinely ordering unnecessary tests, referrals, and procedures purely to protect themselves against allegations of negligence. By some estimates, nearly 90 percent of primary care physicians admit to succumbing to the pressure to engage in defensive medicine.

It's easy to relate to what Dr. Burgess says if you've ever been to a hospital to check out a minor discomfort and found yourself subjected to numerous procedures and exams, culminating in a medical expense that could bring on the ailment that the tests just revealed you didn't have.  If you're a reader of non-fiction, and/or someone who enjoys delving into the inner circle of politics to learn how legislation like the Obama healthcare plan became law, you'll thoroughly enjoy this book.  The chapter entitled, "Seven things your doctor wishes you knew" contains, in my estimation, some of the most valuable nuggets of information about health and the healthcare system that you're likely to find in your lifetime, unless you've graduated from medical school and have experienced political manipulation and chicanery from a seat in Congress.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who wrote the foreward, said, "This book is a remarkable essay on life, medicine, health care, politics and Congress. It is so much more interesting and so much richer in human experience than most health policy books that I recommend it to every American."

Congressman Ron Paul, M.D., wrote:

My colleague Michael Burgess has written a compelling indictment of Obamacare, exposing how the legislation was rammed through Congress with little understanding of long-term consequences. He lays out a cogent argument that health care, like any other service, is best delivered by markets rather than government programs.

I'd like to congratulate Dr. Burgess on his very compelling treatise.  In it, we have a step-by-step guide to saving the best medical system in the world before it's too late.
The above title refers to a recent book written by Congressman Michael Burgess, 26th District in Texas.  Dr. Burgess, who for 25 years was a practicing physician (OB/GYN) in North Texas, ran for Congress in 2002 against a famous name in Republican politics.  House Majority Leader Dick Armey announced in late 2001 that he would not run again.  His son, Scott Armey, the presumptive heir to the seat, began campaigning for the GOP nomination.  

Burgess, who relates in the book the fire in the belly he experienced after the 9/11 terrorist attack, began to seek advice on how to run a political campaign.  One of his most enthusiastic supporters was Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, who told him he'd "be perfect."  With several other aspirants in the race, Burgess ended up in a runoff with Armey, but soon emerged victorious in the runoff and the general election.  The book takes the reader on an informative journey that begins with the author's description of his grandfather's medical practice in Canada, followed by his father's medical career that began in Noranda, Quebec, "a tiny mining village in the Canadian wilderness nearly 400 miles northwest of Montreal," but soon moved to the United States, ultimately settling in Denton, Texas.

Describing aspects of his own career, Dr. Burgess writes about the way breast cancer used to be viewed when he started medical school in 1974.

Back then, there was no screening per se. Once a woman or her physician discovered a breast lump, she was scheduled for a biopsy. Before that biopsy began, however, the patient signed a consent form for a radical mastectomy. The conventional wisdom at the time was that if you operate and the biopsy reveals that the lump is malignant, you increased the likelihood of dissemination of disease if you didn't proceed immediately to the radical mastectomy. It made the whole process unbelievably unsettling for women. The statistics said most lumps were benign. Nevertheless, we were asking women to consent to and be prepped for a radical mastectomy before we even knew whether or not there was a malignancy.

Burgess points to the progress that has been made:

For example, when I started practice, if I recommended a mammogram to someone, it was an intensely emotional, even traumatic event. The patient would go home and tell her husband, "The doctor has scheduled me for a mammogram. He must think I have breast cancer." That was our old world. Now we're in a world in which mammograms are considered routine.

The congressman writes about the huge rise in malpractice insurance rates in the mid-1970s:

An increasing number of Americans seemed to think catching a doctor in a mistake (real or perceived), or sometimes simply experiencing a negative outcome was tantamount to winning the lottery or hitting the jackpot. A new breed of plaintiff attorneys specializing in suing doctors, hospitals and drug companies started amassing astonishing fortunes by encouraging that very mindset.

Stressing the need for tort reform, Burgess writes:

Although the pockets of plaintiff's lawyers get filled, this abuse of the court system exacts costs that go far beyond the jury awards and rising liability insurance premiums. The hidden costs to our economy are staggering. More and more doctors today at every level of the medical system feel forced to practice what has come to be called "defensive medicine," routinely ordering unnecessary tests, referrals, and procedures purely to protect themselves against allegations of negligence. By some estimates, nearly 90 percent of primary care physicians admit to succumbing to the pressure to engage in defensive medicine.

It's easy to relate to what Dr. Burgess says if you've ever been to a hospital to check out a minor discomfort and found yourself subjected to numerous procedures and exams, culminating in a medical expense that could bring on the ailment that the tests just revealed you didn't have.  If you're a reader of non-fiction, and/or someone who enjoys delving into the inner circle of politics to learn how legislation like the Obama healthcare plan became law, you'll thoroughly enjoy this book.  The chapter entitled, "Seven things your doctor wishes you knew" contains, in my estimation, some of the most valuable nuggets of information about health and the healthcare system that you're likely to find in your lifetime, unless you've graduated from medical school and have experienced political manipulation and chicanery from a seat in Congress.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who wrote the foreward, said, "This book is a remarkable essay on life, medicine, health care, politics and Congress. It is so much more interesting and so much richer in human experience than most health policy books that I recommend it to every American."

Congressman Ron Paul, M.D., wrote:

My colleague Michael Burgess has written a compelling indictment of Obamacare, exposing how the legislation was rammed through Congress with little understanding of long-term consequences. He lays out a cogent argument that health care, like any other service, is best delivered by markets rather than government programs.

I'd like to congratulate Dr. Burgess on his very compelling treatise.  In it, we have a step-by-step guide to saving the best medical system in the world before it's too late.