Doctor Derangement Syndrome

Some people hate cows.

Cow haters often have good reasons for feeling so.

Perhaps they had a bad experience with a scary cow. Now they tell everyone that cows are smelly and bad for your health.

Occasionally, cow haters pretend to support the dairy industry, but only if it leads to increased regulation of cows in general:

Cows are such a precious resource that we need government to control them.

Other people love cows above all else and put them centre stage at every state fair. They push for more pasture, just for cattle. They re-write food guides to support the dairy industry.

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Some people hate doctors.

No doubt, doctor-haters have deep reasons for feeling so. Perhaps they had a bad experience with a scary doctor.

Now, they write nasty columns in the Toronto Star about doctors.  All the inspiration they need is a tweet, by a famously unpopular Premier from the 1990s. Continue reading “Doctor Derangement Syndrome”

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Lame Duck Leadership

“The term lame duck generally refers to one who holds power when that power is certain to end in the near future.” (Legal Dictionary)

Lame duck leaders do not face the consequences of their actions; they will soon be gone.

Other politicians do not worry about what a lame duck does or says, as long as the lame duck leaves them alone.

Lame ducks can do great harm, but for the most part, everyone sits back and waits for new management.

Vote of Non-Confidence

On Sunday, the OMA Council, Ontario Doctors’ governing body, debated the following motion:

“That OMA council express to the OMA Executive Committee that Council has lost confidence in the leadership provided by the Executive”

Council voted 55% in favour.

Usually, 25 Board members and 7 student representatives vote, en bloc, in support of whatever the Board advises [Correction: Past Presidents don’t vote]. Considering that, the non-confidence motion had the support of an overwhelming majority of working doctors.

For the first time ever, Council said that it did not trust the current Executive to lead doctors in Ontario. Continue reading “Lame Duck Leadership”

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The OMA is on Fire

In 1880, doctors got together and built a house called the OMA. It was a small house with a big living room and magnificent doors that were always open.

The house helped doctors. That was its only purpose.

Over time, caretakers of the house found that friendship with power helped doctors. Soon the house was full of courtiers, with the doors closed. And soon after that, the doors stayed closed all the time.

The magnificent doors came to represent the whole building. They protected the building. It was their fiduciary duty.

Today, the OMA is on fire. Politicians lit the fire. But once the fire started, those in charge of the OMA ignored the smoke. In fact, many say that the caretakers could have prevented the fire altogether, if they had spent less time wringing their hands and courting power. Continue reading “The OMA is on Fire”

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Something New? Special Council Meeting

In a year of unprecedented events, doctors look forward to another historic weekend.

OMA Council, the governing body for 42,000 doctors in Ontario, meets to debate the first ever vote of non-confidence in the Executive Committee of the Ontario Medical Association.

Six motions follow: one for each member of the Exec asking that each one resigns immediately.

First ever. Unprecedented. Unheard of. 

Speakers at the OMA often quote Einstein,“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Will OMA Council do something new?

Special Council Meeting

Council meets to debate the performance of the Executive Committee.

But people will twist it into a debate about individuals and personal integrity. Others will shame their colleagues for being divisive and petty. Still others will focus on forensics designed to assign blame.

Council needs to focus on one thing: Based on performance to date, do the doctors of Ontario believe that the leaders of the OMA can effectively serve the membership? Continue reading “Something New? Special Council Meeting”

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Relax, the OMA Will Never Strike

Doctors believe patient stories. We think we catch liars. But we can’t. How could we?

If someone cries about final exams and talks about death, I believe her. If someone describes excruciating pain and grimaces when no one is looking, I believe him.

Doctors, for the most part, believe patients.

Wired for credulity, doctors want to believe. When the Ontario Medical Association talks about possible job action and strikes a working group to explore job action, doctors believe the OMA is thinking about job action. But is it? Continue reading “Relax, the OMA Will Never Strike”

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Cuts, Despair & Opportunity

Students must understand delayed gratification to succeed in school.

The best students go without food and rest.

They dream of ways to work longer and harder.

Top students use simple math: suffering now equals reward later.

Delayed gratification animates doctors. In some ways, it founds the core of our being.

Delayed gratification presupposes hope of tangible success: meaningful work, autonomy and respect, in a dependable career.

Cuts, Cuts and More Cuts

The early 2000s brought raises for doctors: pay back for a decade of ‘social contract’ cuts through the 1990s. Doctors’ incomes finally caught up with their inflation-adjusted incomes from the ‘90s around 2012.

Politicians called the catch up a gravy train. So they cut fees in: Continue reading “Cuts, Despair & Opportunity”

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Healthcare Crisis – Video

We cannot drain an abscess before we believe it exists. No one argues that Canada has the best healthcare system in the world anymore. At least no one who pays attention.

I want to hear what you think about the short video below.

In it, I look at our healthcare crisis through waits, patient leaving Canada for care and bureaucratic load. I offer solutions at the end.

Thanks for watching!

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Human Cost of Wait Times

Cool heads make hard choices for the greater good, in war. Innocent people die. Others survive. War is utilitarianism writ large.

Healthcare experts often sound like military.

“As for urgent patients in pain, the public system will decide when their pain requires care. These are societal decisions. The individual is not able to decide rationally.” So said a past VP Medicine from BC.

Here’s a personal story from someone in pain, shared with permission. Continue reading “Human Cost of Wait Times”

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How to Earn Respect – OMA

a-little-r-e-s-p-e-c-t-09-17-2012Doctors received renewal notices from their ersatz union this week. The OMA collects almost $60 million in dues.

Doctors who refuse to pay lose their membership and have dues deducted from their OHIP billings: taxation without citizenship.

The OMA negotiated the last, successful contract in 2008. The biggest gains, roughly 4%, were set for 2011. Government asked the OMA to forgo the raise. The OMA said no. Government took it all back with unilateral action and has attacked, slandered and cut doctors ever since.

This summer, the Liberal Government of Ontario eviscerated their negotiating partner, and the OMA played along.

Government really wanted labor peace with doctors before September. Government pushed too hard with the OMA, and the OMA pushed even harder with doctors.

Doctors voted 63% No against the OMA Board’s new deal. Many saw the unprecedented rebellion as a vote of non-confidence.

Now the OMA must find a way to prove to doctors that it deserves the right to exist.

How to Earn Respect

Respect takes years to earn and moments to lose. Here are 4 essentials to earn it back:

A. Stand For Something

Support for fads never wins respect. Popular opinion only shields from abuse until the topic changes. Continue reading “How to Earn Respect – OMA”

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Manage Doctors for Patient Benefit

knead-breadParents can try to control everything their children do, or let them run completely wild. Neither extreme works well.

Politicians can try to control everything in medicine, or let doctors run wild.

Just like parents, politicians tend towards one extreme or another. If we listen closely, most pundits assume doctors should be controlled.

How to Manage Doctors

I spend hours listening to healthcare opinionists: politicians, candidates running for office, administrators, consultants, bureaucrats, journalists, talk show hosts and concerned citizens. They all have different ideas on how to manage doctors. But none of them questions the need for management. Continue reading “Manage Doctors for Patient Benefit”

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