Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Musings of a Distractible Mind

images That’s the name of a blog I just found, thanks to my friend Alice. Dr. Rob Lambert, a primary care physician and the author of Musings of a Distractible Mind, lends us his unique perspective.

In most doctor-patient relationships, there exists an invisible wall. Although we generally admire our physicians, we often find them aloof, unapproachable, and hurried. It turns out that doctors are actual human beings, and they have fears and frustrations of their own. I don’t think the inherent problems with our medical/industrial complex lie with either doctors or patients. Dr. Lambert agrees, and in his most recent post, entitled “Doctor Scum Bag”, he lays the blame where it belongs.
…In our health care system we have a business where both ends of the transaction are miserably unhappy. 99% of doctors hate the health care system, and the 1% who like it are the ones to avoid. Patient dissatisfaction is nearly as high, skewed downward by people who have grown so used to the terrible system we have that they now see “terrible” as “average.” Is there any other business where both consumer and those providing the product are so unhappy? The reason for this is that someone else is shaping the system: the payers. 
I must admit, I am not sure how this can be fixed in any way other than a total disruption of the current system and replacement with one that is centered on people, not problems, on communication not documentation. Until we have a system that doesn’t reward sickness, sickness will be the reward we reap. I left the system because I didn’t think there was any way to continue practicing good care in it. While my new practice is far from perfect (consider the source), at least I am rewarded for taking time with people. 
To have any chance at building better relationships between doctors and patients, we need to face the painful reality that our system corrupts even those with the best intentions. So, I guess that would make it a “scum-care” or “health-scum” system? The sooner we face our ugly reality, the more the chance of bringing the focus back to where it should be: caring for patients… 
(click here to read the entire post)
In another post entitled “A Letter to Patients with Chronic Disease”, he writes:
Dear Patients: 
You have it very hard, much harder than most people understand. Having sat for 16 years listening to the stories, seeing the tiredness in your eyes, hearing you try to describe the indescribable, I have come to understand that I too can’t understand what your lives are like. How do you answer the question, “how do you feel?” when you’ve forgotten what “normal” feels like? How do you deal with all of the people who think you are exaggerating your pain, your emotions, your fatigue? How do you decide when to believe them or when to trust your own body? How do you cope with living a life that won’t let you forget about your frailty, your limits, your mortality? 
I can’t imagine. 
But I do bring something to the table that you may not know. I do have information that you can’t really understand because of your unique perspective, your battered world. There is something that you need to understand that, while it won’t undo your pain, make your fatigue go away, or lift your emotions, it will help you. It’s information without which you bring yourself more pain than you need suffer; it’s a truth that is a key to getting the help you need much easier than you have in the past. It may not seem important, but trust me, it is. 
You scare doctors… 
(Click here to read the rest of this post)
Good stuff! I expect that I’m going to enjoy the musings of Dr. Lambert for a long time.


  1. wow! this is amazing stuff! SO wonderfully refreshing to hear from the other side. I too will be paying attention to future musings. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hi,
    I ran across your blog while doing research for a post on my blog. I would love to add yours to my blog roll. Certainly mine is a VERY different voice, but I really enjoy reading about your life.


  3. Megan,

    I'm glad that you stumbled upon my blog, and I'm honored that you would like to put me on your blog roll.

    I've subscribed to your blog via an RSS feed and look forward to more of your irreverent posts such as "Confessions of a Potty-Sleeper"!