Facilitating Change

October 10, 2018

Personal involvement and perspective often drive certain individuals to make a special effort to facilitate change. In this regard, I think of several people who have dedicated their lives after personal experience aroused a passion for a particular cause.

I think in particular of Emma Gonzalez and her surviving schoolmates who have devoted their recent actions to highlighting the unimaginable tragedy of lives lost in the Parkland High School killing of twelve of their classmates. Their determination and persistence in advocating for change in our gun laws has really provided the momentum in our country for having success in reducing gun violence. I think also of Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly who, after Gabby’s shooting in Tucson and after years of rehab for Gabby, launched their effort to fight gun violence in response to the horrific killing of twenty children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Presidential Review

October 3, 2018

My NHMS presidency is soon to come to a close. In this blog post, I have a couple of comments on some of the issues I have raised in previous blog posts on gun violence and immigration issues.

Today is the first anniversary of the Las Vegas massacre. That shooting was the worst mass shooting ever by a civilian anywhere in the entire world. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, planned and executed a plot that killed 58 innocent people and injured more than 500 attending a country music festival some 30 plus floors below his hotel room. He used several semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks to wreak unimaginable havoc to the innocent crowds of people attending that festival. We still have no idea why he was motivated to do what he did. 

Principles of Medical Ethics Cont.

Sept. 3, 2018

The Labor Day weekend is just about over, although the oppressive heat and humidity is confining me to the few air-conditioned spots in my house. It has been a hot summer; indeed, summers have been progressively hotter on average since I first came to New Hampshire in 1974. Climate change does seem real, doesn’t it?

In today’s blog post I want to continue the discussion of the AMA’s “Principles of Medical Ethics” that I began in my last blog post. The “Principles” are appropriate guides for all of us in our practice of medicine, but they are also good principles for the general function of everyone in work, relationships and even politics. 

Principles of Medical Ethics pertaining to Medicine and Society in 2018

August 15, 2018

I have been on-call this weekend, covering for the group of private practice psychiatrists on the Seacoast. On these weekends of being on-call in particular, I have the time to listen by telephone to the suffering of patients that I will most likely never meet. Their stories are often so compelling and heartbreaking. As I respond to the varied needs of my colleagues’ patients, I am reminded of the principles upon which our profession is based and why we do what we do in our practice of medicine. 

Death Penalty Repeal Part III

July 23, 2018

I last wrote about SB 593, the bill to repeal the death penalty in NH, on March 12, 2018. At that time SB 593 had passed the NH Senate by a vote of 14-10. It then passed the House by a vote of 223 to 116. Governor Sununu had expressed reservations relative to repeal of the death penalty, leading to his expected veto of SB 593 on June 21, 2018. The bill will now be subject to an override vote on September 13, 2018.

Boundary Violations at our Southern Border, Part II

July 3, 2018

In today’s blog post, I return to the plight of migrants in the context of our government’s “zero tolerance” policy. The plight of migrants from the south is the canary in the coal mine of our country’s soul these days.  More than 2000 children are still separated from their parents, many just toddlers or very young children, from a policy of separation without appropriate tracking so that reunification is continuing to be obstructed by an incompetent process. Is this not malpractice of our government towards persons under their care, under their responsibility?  

Report from the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago

June 17, 2018

I just returned from attending my first AMA Annual Meeting. It was a great experience. Jim Potter, Bill Kassler (our AMA delegate), Georgia Tuttle (AMA Trustee), Stuart Glassman and I were in Chicago representing the Medical Society. 

Boundary Violations at our Southern Border

June 6, 2018

In this blog post my focus is on the horrific boundary violations that are occurring at our country’s southern border (boundary) involving children and their parents. I am so ashamed in general these days of our country policies regarding immigrants, but the more recent revelations of the policy of separating children, even infants, from their parents is just unbelievable. As physicians, let alone as humans, we know what damage this policy will cause to both parents and their children, and yet it is the policy of our government. I am so ashamed.

The concepts of boundary issues and boundary violations are very well known in my profession of psychiatry. Indeed, it is especially important for all physicians, indeed for everyone, to be attentive to boundary issues as we’ve seen in this era of sexual exploitation symbolized by the phrase “me too.” Boundary issues, however, occur in many different forms and at many different locations.

Another horrendous school shooting and no action as usual on gun control

May 23, 2018

Each morning when I drive to work I pass elementary, middle school and high school students walking to their respective schools in Portsmouth. The children are lovely, lively and fortunately safe for another day. They are walking in twos and threes, sometimes with parents for the very young, sometimes carrying basketballs or soccer balls. Not much of a care in their worlds, far from the fear that has enveloped so many schools and communities in our nation.

This latest mass murder, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, has come and gone, with no action expected on gun control, especially in the state of Texas. No action in New Hampshire either. Children (and resource officers and teachers) are the casualties, sacrificial lambs to our gun dominated society.

New England Medical Societies meet in Groton CT

May 8, 2018

On Saturday morning May 4, I had the pleasure of attending, as your president, the Council of New England State Medical Societies (CNESMS) meeting in Groton, CT, followed by the meeting of the AMA New England Delegation (NED).

The CNESMS functions as an organization to bring the six New England medical societies together to present to each other reports of their activities over the last year. In that context, I had the opportunity to present our New Hampshire State Report (well prepared by EVP Jim Potter). 

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