The Modern Diagnosis

Steffie had a pretty bad allergic reaction this weekend. It wasn’t fun for her, or for us. Your child can grow up – but she’s still your child.

As the week went on, the allergic reaction went away. That’s good.

Our family physician said Steffie should see an allergist. I called the to make an appointment with the allergist I see… or anyone in his practice. June – the earliest available appointment is June!

Popular folks these allergists.

I wasn’t sure what to do, so I sent my allergist an email, with a photo of Steffie taken while she was in the midst of the reaction. He took a look and wrote back.

His response suggested what we were already doing was right, and it wouldn’t be necessary to see him until or unless there were more problems.

I’m glad he wrote back, but this is a hell of an imposition on my part, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time to acknowledge the new era and have our insurance companies (or, shudder, me the patient) pay for this service.

As far as I can tell, when my internist or allergist gives me advice from his keyboard, he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart – literally giving away the work he usually charges for.

My guess is, in some cases, Internet consultation is a good thing. From an insurance standpoint, isn’t this a chance to purchase a more cost effective service for their customers? Shouldn’t the physician be compensated to encourage this?

I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on television&#185). I’m sure those I know will tell me if I’m off base here.

&#185 – That line, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on television,” was actually used in a TV commercial about 40 years ago.

Blogger’s addendum: And, my primary physician did respond:

If there were something that were more than 100%, I’d agree with you that much. Does the accountant or lawyer or guy at the gas pump EVER give it away for free? I think that our ethic and culture is different, though. Medicine is rightly called a “caring profession.” and when we care, we really do care. So we do it, without listening for the sound of the cash register ringing.

And don’t hold your breath waiting to hear that Aetna or Anthem or, God forbid, Medicare will ever pay me or your allergist for giving you email or even telephone advice. Not in my lifetime, and I plan to torture all of you for many years to come.

2 thoughts on “The Modern Diagnosis”

  1. From:

    The “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV” was more recent than that- or has been more recently incarnated. (Coincidentally, a month ago I looked this up for a consulting project that reviewed memorable all-time ad campaigns- and I relied on the site above.)

    The man who has the claim to fame as the doctor-actor was Peter Bergman.

    Bergman’s “most notable role has been his portrayal of Dr. Cliff Warner on All My Children (1979-1987, 1988-1989)… Bergman parlayed this success into a very successful Vick’s Formula 44 cough syrup advert campaign, in which he told the viewing audience, I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

    In a Soap Opera Digest interview, Bergman said that he had honestly thought he would become the next Joe Martin (a tenured doctor on the show, played by Ray MacDonnell). He still maintains to this day that he was shocked when the brass at All My Children fired him. [He was probably then quoted as saying “I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one anymore on TV…”]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *