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Patch Adams

Sunday, October 31, 2010
I've never had an opportunity to listen to a real, live revolutionary. Tonight, that changed. I went to the Mississippi Studios to listen to Patch Adams, the doctor made famous by the movie.

Patch Adams

The talk was quite interesting. Though I disagree with some of his politics - I am a capitalist and the good doctor is not - he was undeniably brilliant and brought an amazing energy to the room. He spoke with true modesty that I respected, and made several good points about healthcare and the practice of it.

In particular, he spoke of designing a hospital that ran at 1/10th the cost of a current healthcare facility. Most of the way this was accomplished was by the staff (doctors, nurses, etc) taking little to no salary. To me this doesn't seem to be a sustainable or scalable model; the education required to achieve such a position is costly and soliciting donations to subsidize the cost of health care and/or education merely shifts the costs of such a service from the patient to a donor. If, however, he were to form a university capable of teaching medicine in such as way as to not be cost-prohibitive, he might be on to something. I just think he's starting at the end and working backwards.

I did agree with him on the importance of bringing humanity to health care. He emphasizes bedside manner and developing a relationship with the patient that is often overlooked or absent in today's 12-minute visits and consultations.

In the end, though we differ politically, I left with a profound respect for his commitment to his beliefs, his willingness to live by them, and that he didn't see this as a "sacrifice" even though others might. From his talk I gained new ideas, fleshed out existing ones, and learned just a little bit more. I'm very glad I went.

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