Call for collegiality
Proponents of hospitalists ("Use of mandatory hospitalists blasted," May ACPASIM Observer, p. 1.; " Hospitalists," July/August ACPASIM Observer, p. 2.), often allude to the additional time they will free up for physicians to run their office practices. Might not this extra time also give doctors an opportunity to renew inter-physician discourse?
It was not that many years ago that we senior physicians, after morning hospital rounds, would gather in the doctor's lounge to converse with our colleagues over coffee. Our conversations ranged from politics to golf, from hospital activities to troubling cases. We got to know one another better and more than once we exchanged helpful clinical tips. I well remember how my first clues in cases of chronic arsenic poisoning, pseudotumor cerebri and leptospirosis came to light during these chats. And I still have several old, hand-scribbled notes from doctors thanking me for tips I offered that helped them with problem cases.
Like stethoscopes, physician collegiality has vanished. Younger physicians claim they are too busy to indulge in this vestige of horse-and-buggy medicine. Professional cordiality has reached such a nadir that inter-physician exchanges are almost non-existent in doctors' lounges and mailrooms. The problem is so blatant that hospitals in Boston now conduct seminars on "peer collegiality"!
Lee Sataline, FACP
Dr. Ogrod's letter ("PAC Delay," July/August ACP-ASIM Observer, p. 2.) is right on the money. One of the reasons behind the ACP-ASIM merger was that one of the strengths of ASIM—political advocacy for internists and their patients—would become even more effective when combined with the prestige and strength of ACP. We are being pushed rapidly from a profession into a trade. We must not be on the political sidelines. Our profession and our patients need our input into the process.
Carl Strauss, FACP
Kansas City, Mo.
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