Death Penalty Repeal Revisited from a Medical/Psychiatric Perspective, Part I

March 12, 2018

Once again the legislature and New Hampshire is considering repeal of the death penalty. The repeal bill, SB 593, would replace capital punishment with imprisonment without the possibility of parole. SB 593 has 13 sponsors in the Senate, which is already a majority, so it is likely to pass in the Senate. It is also likely to garner sufficient support to pass in the House. Unfortunately, Governor Sununu has already indicated he will veto repeal of the death penalty if it comes to his desk. We can only hope he listens to the many arguments from both sides of the aisle to reconsider his opposition to repeal. The arguments for repeal are from so many different perspectives: religious, moral, pragmatic, legal, financial, medical and psychiatric/psychological. I will offer the arguments here from a medical and psychiatric perspective.   

Another School Shooting, One More Tragedy, One Too Many!

February 19, 2018

In today’s blog post I was going to write about the AMA Advocacy Meeting that Jim Potter, Bill Kassler, Georgia Tuttle and I attended in Washington, D.C., on February 12-14. However, another school shooting involving seventeen deaths has overshadowed that very positive opportunity that we had to meet with Senators Shaheen and Hassan and their staffs, Congresswoman Kuster and her staff, and staff of Congresswoman Shea-Porter. Our meetings were both enjoyable and productive, as we have excellent representation on “the Hill.” We came home to New Hampshire, however, on February 14, Valentine’s Day, to confront yet another gun-related tragedy.

Considering Firearm Issues

January 29, 2018

My plan for today’s blog post was to discuss the current NHMS policy regarding firearms and to suggest some further actions that NHMS could take regarding the U.S. epidemic of gun violence.  I do plan to explore this issue in more detail soon in our bi-monthly magazine, but recent bills in the NH Legislature and almost daily events in the news prompted this discussion today.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018

January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.I am writing this blogpost on the day of commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth. I recall in particular the hopes much of the country had on August 28, 1963, when Dr. King stood on the steps of Lincoln’s monument and delivered his uplifting “I had a dream” speech. My father and I had traveled from NYC to share that stirring occasion of hope. I was twenty then, one year before I began my medical career at University of Chicago Medical School. And less than five years later, before I completed medical school, King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Today, as we celebrate King’s legacy at this very challenging time in our country’s history, I am reminded of his words:

            “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. 

A New Year

January 2, 2018

Leaping into 20182018 has arrived. For me it is hard to imagine that 2017 is actually finished. To use a medical metaphor, the many outrageous developments of 2017 have been hard to digest. Is truth really not important anymore? Is the press, historically the fourth estate, appropriate to malign and dismiss, or necessary for our very survival? Is our environment, indeed our planet, important to preserve and cherish, or appropriate to exploit and poison? Should our federal government continue to increase the disparity between the rich and the poor, and encourage less rather than more of our citizens to have health care? These are some of the big questions to wonder about as we leave 2017 and begin 2018. These and other major issues obviously affect the health and well being of us all.

Immigration, the Holocaust and Xenophobia

December 13, 2017

Among the Reeds by Dr. Tammy BottnerI attended a talk this morning by Dr. Tammy Bottner about the struggle of her grandparents and family in surviving the Holocaust. Dr. Bottner, a pediatrician from Newburyport, discussed her grandparent’s horrific ordeal of escaping the Nazi regime in Belgium during World War II. 

Thanksgiving - a Favorite Holiday of Mine

November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine, a time of thanks for health and happiness, for gratitude for what I have and compassion and caring for those folks who are less fortunate.  No gifts or cards, just good times with family and friends and lots of food, many favorites and so much to choose from.

It is a time for us to be grateful for all we have.  Yet, I’m always aware that many have so much less.  In the Seacoast this Thanksgiving season, the Portsmouth Herald has run many moving articles on the homeless in New Hampshire, stories of individuals who are struggling without the comforts of home and family, often in tents in the woods as homeless shelters are filled to capacity.  Estimates are that the number of individuals who are homeless has increased this year in NH.  High rents, low-paying jobs (if you have one), health problems and family problems make so many people vulnerable to the possibility of losing their home. 

Recap of 2017 NHMS Conference

November 14, 2017

As a continuation of my first blog post, I wanted to discuss the experience of attending our yearly annual scientific meetings.  Firstly, the settings we choose are always so beautiful.  This year we met at the Mill Falls at the Lake in Meredith.  What a spectacular setting.  In particular I recall walking to our early yoga experience “Stretch Yourself Techniques for Physicians” led by Michelle Mancherje, MD, at 7:00 AM this past Saturday with the sun rising over the water.  Forty members shared this incredible way to start our day of scientific presentations.

NEWS RELEASE

LEONARD KORN INAUGURATED AS NEW PRESIDENT

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, Leonard Korn, MD, was inaugurated as the 186th president of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

Dr. Korn is a psychiatrist in private practice in Portsmouth and has been on the medical staff of Portsmouth Regional Hospital since 1974.  For many years, Dr. Korn was a member of the hospital’s ethics committee, including five years as chair.

Since 2003, he has served on the executive council of the New Hampshire Psychiatric Society and served as its president from 2007-2011.

Dr. Korn graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and did his residency in psychiatry at Maine Medical Center in Portland and University of Wisconsin in Madison.  He is board certified in general psychiatry, and was board certified in forensic psychiatry from 1999-2009.

Focusing on the Year

November 8, 2017

This past Saturday, I had the honor to be inaugurated as president of your New Hampshire Medical Society.  What an awesome experience being with such a supportive crowd at our Annual Scientific Meeting in lovely Meredith, NH. As noted in my inaugural address, I hope I carry this august responsibility with grace, dignity and competence, as have so many before me.

The speech outlined my theme for the coming year as “the many points of intersection between mental health and medicine in general.” It is certainly an area of particular interest for me as a psychiatrist, but also for the Medical Society as well. Indeed, mental health issues were rated the number one issue in our 2017 survey of New Hampshire physicians.

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