Editorials from the Executive Medical Director

Irreverent opinions: Disaster has a silver lining

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June 20, 2016

Kathleen May, MD, FACAAI, Advocacy Council member, in Maryland, was the first to pick it up – that something was going to happen about compounding in her state that would affect us all. It was an astute observation and led to the tremendous program we have developed to preserve allergy injections for our patients. At that time, USP was pretty much unknown amongst allergists. But when USP  mentioned in a conference call that we were allowed to listen in to – that allergists would no longer have the traditional carve-out for compounding allergy vaccines – the allergist world was turned upside down.

Irreverent opinions: I hate surveys…but please take mine

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May 16, 2016

“USA Today has come out with a new survey – apparently, three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.” – David Letterman

At last look, I counted eleventy-seven million surveys unanswered in my Gmail box. I don’t know why I just don’t delete them. I have a feeling I’m never going to do them, but I feel guilty about the fact that some people spent a lot of time trying to find out what’s gonna make me happy and then I don’t help them.

Don’t make me beg: Please take my survey.

Irreverent opinions: How much did you make last year?

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April 18, 2016

If the question makes you a bit uncomfortable, you aren’t alone. Less than one percent of respondents to Medscape’s allergy compensation quiz were allergists this year, but those that did respond produced some startling results.

In a ranking of 26 specialty groups, the study indicates that the average allergist made approximately $222,000 last year, which makes them fifth from the bottom over the perennial bottom feeders; pediatrics. We pediatricians wear a hair shirt and a red badge of honor over being the lowest paid of all doctors for the umpteenth year in a row. It’s just not a profession to go into if finances are the goal.

Irreverent opinions: Dealing with audacity when patients ask you to break the rules

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March 21, 2016

“While I’m here, would you mind skin testing the twins?” FYI: the twins were not patients.

What? People never used to ask that sort of thing. One wonders if surgeons get snap requests for gallbladders during lunch hours, or quad bypasses on weekends.

Or here is the lesser ask: What do you say when a patient asks you to “just look at my other child’s ear for a quick second.”

Let’s look at the second patient first. Do you go new school, hard line and say “I can only see people I have worked up properly,” or do you fall back (old school) as I do, and say, “I only see ears on Tuesday, sorry.”

Irreverent opinions: Chocolate: The latest health supplement

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February 15, 2016

Every drug has side effects. Is chocolate any different? Like any drug, it must be analyzed in a strict academic manner comparing risks and benefits to outcome. This is the season to revisit chocolate carefully, because of the international orgy of chocolate abuse that just took place because of people who take St. Valentine’s seriously.

First of all – for the edification of those of you who are not Catholic (myself included), Donald J. Valentine was a Roman priest and doctor who was martyred by the emperor Claudius II for marrying Christian couples on or around Feb. 14 of 278 AD. The feast of St. Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 because the church wanted to Christianize an ancient Roman February pagan festival, called Lupercalia, which centered around fertility and purification.

Irreverent opinions: A gamble I’m willing to take

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February 8, 2016

I’m betting $500 we can win this fight with USP.

I’m betting we can convince the FDA not to support USP proposed regulations that would keep allergists from mixing vaccine kits in the office.

Here’s why I believe that, with our efforts, the FDA will not support the draconian suggestions by USP to mandate that allergists, among other items, will develop a positive pressure clean room, and date vaccines at 28 days as proposed:

Irreverent opinions: An allergist Grinch’s Christmas

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December 21, 2015

Somewhere on top of Mount Crumpit, there’s a giant nasty Grinch with a smirk on his face and a giant bulbous green bag. It’s been a good year for the Grinch. He’s taken our contracts and given us lumps of coal, all with the exact ICD-10 code for confusion on them. He took a bad system and made it worse after attending Bill Gates’ seminar on new ways to make things easier.   

You have a nasty smirk, Mr. Grinch, and that green bag is bulging with new regulations and ways to make the children wait longer. You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You’ve been talking to the pharmacists about making our extracts with their license, and giving the children sweet little bottles of albuterol from your pocket with no instructions.

Irreverent opinions: Thank goodness for global warming

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November 16, 2015

Have you detected a silent “hurrah” when global warming is discussed amongst allergists? Imagine the horror of ragweed growing like kudzu, making every city the “worst city” in the world. Imagine forests of poison ivy, and Bermuda grass invading Wisconsin. You guys and gals stop rubbing your hands together – you should be ashamed of yourselves! I am just saying what you are thinking.

Irreverent opinions: Should you wear a body cam?

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October 19, 2015

I recently read about a physician that allowed a patient’s wife to video her husband’s surgical procedure and when complete, posed with the young couple for a nice photograph and YouTube video.

I was astonished – I was horrified. Something deep in my soul tells me this is just plain wrong. 

But then I thought about how many of my friends enjoy turning the television screen around to allow patients to see their own nose from a rhinoscope and will make them a DVD. And then I thought of all the joy a young family has in presenting the black and white sonogram picture of their unborn baby to their family. Isn’t it the same thing really? How far do we go in sharing?