Sunday, December 25, 2005


Two weeks ago I went to Detroit to interview for a residency position there. Motor City is an interesting town. It's sprawled out like LA, but the traffic is nowhere near as bad. There are a lot of liquor stores on the inner city street corners, and not much happening. Despite the fact that the Super Bowl is coming this year, it's a shell of a city. Why can't US automakers start making small cars that are fuel efficient and make the city thrive? At the very least, the Saturn Sky looks promising!

On a completely unrelated note, I was at Wayne State for the interview, and had a chance to go down to the Shiffman medical library there. Upon entering, I noticed a plaque on the door, and was quite surprised to see my great grandfather's name on it. So, since I was there, I looked up some of my great grandfather's work in the bowels of this library that looks like a nuclear bomb shelter. As I sat there leafing through the pages of the journal that he edited for some time, the Journal of the Michigan State Medical Society, I had the chance to see another era of US medicine. In those post World War I years and into the Second World War, there was a definite fear of socialized medicine. The fear was that the US Public Health Service would take over the profession, leading to poor quality, and the erosion of physician independence to make decisions for patient care. At the time, Blue Cross and Blue Shield were started as prepaid health plans, some of the first ones in existence. It is interesting to see how this situation has changed over the years. Looking at the NHS in the UK, it is fair to say our health care in the US is of higher quality. However, one thing I notice about the US is that people get left behind. In the NHS, and in Ireland (a separate system), there is a safety net. At some stage here in the US, we will need to establish a safety net, and whether it is prepaid, or paid by the government matters not.

After my visit to the library, I wandered past the Detroit Insitute of the Arts, and paused in fronth of Rodin's Thinker. Actually, one of many. As it turns out, there are copies of this statue around the world,and the original is in Paris. I don't know why, but I have bad museum karma. Every time I visit a city with a cool museum, I end up going on the day it is closed! So, if you don't like museums, travel on Tuesdays, you are sure to find the museums closed...

No comments: