Three steps toward a better healthcare system – Commercial Appeal

A friend recently asked me, “Where do we go from here?” The friend was referring to our impasse with healthcare in America. The Democrats have failed to repair the Affordable Care Act, and the Republicans have failed to repeal or replace it. With the status quo, I can understand our healthcare system providing lower quality care […]

Pharmaceutical market puts profits above all – Commercial Appeal

A grandmother develops a boil which turns out to be a difficult-to-treat staph infection (MRSA). She needs high-powered antibiotics. A middle-aged man who received a blood transfusion decades ago now has hepatitis C and needs anti-viral medicine. A young woman with HIV develops golf-ball-size lesions in her brain, has toxoplasmosis and needs anti-parasite medicine. The […]

What should doctors do to combat childhood obesity? – Washington Post

Lying in a hospital bed, my seriously obese patient could barely see her swollen and odorous right foot over her abdominal fat. The foot was soon to be amputated, the result of an untreatable infection exacerbated by diabetes and kidney failure, which developed in part because of obesity.Her two children, ages 6 and 12, hovered […]

Complications after surgery are urgent challenges – Commercial Appeal

My uncle, Vinay Mehta, who had his second bypass surgery four days earlier, is rushed back to the ICU hooked up to monitors and multiple IV lines. A critical care doctor who wears cowboy boots and uses words sparingly is at the foot of the bed, and three nurses adjust drips, measure my uncle’s blood […]

My uncle’s medical journey – Commercial Appeal

My uncle, Vinay Mehta, lies quietly on a gurney in the hospital’s pre-post catherization room. His wife of 40 years is by his side. The TV across the room is flickering, and the EKG monitor behind him beats a regular rhythm. His cardiologist, who just performed the heart catherization, is a family friend and is […]

Cleanliness may not be best when it comes to pacifiers – Commercial Appeal

Years ago, when my children, who are now teenagers, were babies and they dropped a pacifier onto the floor, we rinsed it with tap water before putting it in their mouth. As a parent and as an infectious disease doctor, sterility is of utmost importance to me. While this may be lifesaving in the hospital, […]

Doctors need to eliminate waste from healthcare – Commercial Appeal

Thirty percent of health care spending — amounting to $750 billion a year — is wasted, according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine. I know. As a doctor, I am party to this waste, and I think doctors can play a major role in recovering it. In a private conversation, a cardiologist […]

We all need ‘skin’ in Medicare debate – Commercial Appeal

As I approach my 50th birthday, I worry about Medicare not being there for me when I become eligible. I have some inside knowledge about Medicare. My parents and in-laws are patients on Medicare. As a doctor, I am a provider for Medicare, and as a public health educator I am a consultant for a […]

Medicare Control of Cost – Huffington Post

As I approach my 50th birthday, I worry about Medicare not being there for me when I become eligible. I have some inside knowledge about Medicare. My parents and in-laws are patients on Medicare. As a doctor, I am a provider for Medicare, and as a public health educator I am a consultant for a […]

Judging ‘Obamacare’ depends on your situation Put politics aside and just focus on facts – Commercial Appeal

On the day the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its historic decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, I was rounding on my hospital patients: a man on the ventilator with pneumonia who had private insurance, one elderly woman with abdominal pain going for gall bladder surgery on Medicare, and one middle aged obese […]

Family support makes transplants easier to take – Commercial Appeal

SUBMITTED PHOTO Juana Boyland won medals in several events in the 2002 Transplant Olympics. She underwent a lung transplant. I had not recognized the deep bonds between sisters until I saw my two daughters holding each other in a long embrace after the older one returned from college. Thinking back, I should have recognized this […]

How much does it cost? Even doctor is stumped – Commercial Appeal

Rarely do people think about medical costs when there is a medical emergency or an urgent need for a test. Recently, I was in such a situation. A few days after a 22-hour international flight, the calf muscle in my right leg began to ache. If it were not for the recent flight, or if […]

Doctors in private practices are now joining hospital staffs – Washington Post

Fifteen years ago, I proudly hung a sign outside my office with my name followed by “MD.” I had started my own business. A small private medical practice is much like a mom-and-pop store, where the doctor has the autonomy to decide the hours, which insurance to accept, which patients to see and how much […]

Accepting death is difficult for patients and doctors, but it needs to be done – Washington Post

My 64-year-old patient with terminal cancer and less than six months to live wanted to go to Oregon. He was contemplating assisted suicide, which is legal there. “My life has been long and good,” he said. “I believe it is my right. I want the ability to say it’s too much, I can’t do it […]

No easy cure for hospital errors / Significant gains seen in specific areas – Commercial Appeal

Some years ago, a nurse paged me at 3 a.m. from the hospital because a patient of mine had spiked a high fever. Suspecting an infection, I called in antibiotics. A few hours later, the frantic nurse called to say my patient had turned red and was wheezing, likely from an allergic reaction. I rushed […]

New Medicare appointee is no stranger to Memphis – Commerical Appeal

Published: July 19, 2010 The new director of one of the largest health insurance systems in the world has been hired. He will manage health insurance for 90 million enrollees — including many Memphians — and wield funds of more than $800 billion — about one-third of the national health care expenditure.Read More

Bundled payments might cut hospital costs without reducing quality of care – Washington Post

A decade and a half ago, when I started my solo practice, I would say to my routine HIV patients, “Let’s see you back in three months.” I was eager to fill clinic slots; also, because of my lack of experience, I felt safer seeing my patients more often. Nowadays, with my clinic overbooked for […]

Medicare drug bill – a step towards privatization of Medicare – Shelby Sun

The Medicare legislation being voted on by Congress this week hopes to bring the greatest change to Medicare in its 40 year history. The plan is sure to effect our health, our pocket books, and the future of our health care industry in America. The bill is not just about giving a prescription plan to […]

Fast Food Needs To Change Fast – Shelby Sun

We went to McAlister’s Deli for lunch last Saturday. As my daughter and I peered at the four columns of menu items above the counter, she noticed one column entitled  “Vegetarian”. “Daddy, one-fourth of the meals are vegetarian”, she said. (She is learning fractions in her 5th grade class.) At McDonald’s, we can peer at […]

Guess who turned 40 this year? – Shelby Sun

Like it or not medicare is here to stay – infact there are many who advocate it as the insurance plan for all Americas who cannot insurance from their employees or self-insured. Now that would qualify for a mid-life crisis. The big 4-0 The health program that provides coverage for seniors and eligible people with […]