The mail's here!
Every month or so, we like to turn this page over to you, the reader. We want to know what you think about our columns, blogs and videos. Are we hitting the mark? Did we miss something? There is a comment box at the end of each item in H&HN Daily; please take time to let us know your thoughts.
So, without further ado, here's this month's mailbag.
Several readers were thankful for Emily Friedman's essay about the ongoing battle over end-of-life care.
David Green, from Oshkosh, Wis., wrote:
Once again you have provided a well-researched, thorough and value-based examination of a complex subject. I will share it with family and friends as well as those with whom I am involved in China in developing world-class skilled nursing facilities. I recommend it to anyone since it is applicable to all and is easy and enjoyable reading.
"Karen" also liked the column:
Great article! I particularly enjoy the comprehensive coverage of many of the issues involved with end-of-life treatment. I believe part of our society's problem with "letting go" at an appropriate time (rather than "past the point of any true recovery") is our isolation from death. As a college student, I did an internship as a patient representative at a major teaching hospital and saw/spoke with many critically ill and dying patients (most in pain with horrible symptoms). It made a huge impression on me relative to how I wanted to die, as well as live. Quality over quantity any day.
But my favorite letter comes from Alan Sager, who summed it up very well:
Emily, Thank you!
In a blog I wrote about the diabetes epidemic, I was critical of Michael Bloomberg's attempt to ban large sodas in New York City. That drew this response from Patrick Lenihan:
The adage goes, "where you stand depends on where you sit," so it is not surprising that H&HN looks at diabetes narrowly as a disease and, therefore, opposes measures like Mayor Bloomberg's to address one of its root causes. As long as the American health system's business model is rooted in more treatment and not prevention, preventable conditions like diabetes will be viewed through a service-provision and revenue-generation lens while health care costs rise and health status measures slide.
Ellen Venetsky had this to say about Senior Writer Paul Barr's blog on legislators taking an interest in promoting medication adherence policies:
This approach makes perfect sense, is long overdue and has been "hiding in plain sight" for years. There are too few supports for initiatives such as this. As a social work administrator, I have had to watch services cut over the years that support this kind of intervention — we do follow-up calls but not enough to guarantee adherence to medication regimens, and certainly home visits are impossible. In the past few years home care has been cut as well, which also jeopardizes patients at home. Patients who could manage in the community with more help are often relegated to nursing homes prematurely for safety reasons. So, once in the nursing home, patients get regular meals, regular meds, lots of staff attention and in the documentation are "stable, doing well," but are miserable and emotionally and mentally dying a little each day.
Gary Miner liked what Eric Topol, M.D., had to say in this interview:
Absolutely great discussion. As I finish writing a major professional book on practical predictive analytics of health care and medical research I have come to realize that Dr. Eric Topol is right on!
Finally, Annette Simmons, took a philosophical approach to this blog by Managing Editor Bill Santamour:
I figure if we evolved opposing thumbs, then humans will eventually evolve more collaborative behaviors. Thank you for the evidence that it may be happening more quickly than I thought!