Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I wasn't going to say anything yet, but . . .

Karen insists. With all the bright people reading your blog, she says, someone might have some good advice. I've decided I want to volunteer my services in Louisiana. Lots of great reasons to do it, and only one reason not to -- the financial hit.* We have one big concern: this Salt Lake Tribune story, which Jeff excerpted at Pen and Sword, and which Steve Gilliard has spotlighted, also. Seems the government is not beyond using volunteers to bolster its worrisome PR problem. Mind you, I don't know if they will even want an ear, nose, and throat doctor, but if they want me, I'm available. I sent off an email a few hours ago to Louisiana DHH, giving them my contact information and a brief CV, but I haven't heard back yet. I'm hesitant to contact the Federal DHHS because of the concerns (above). I'd rather talk to the State DHH first. Here's the question. What can I do ahead of time to make sure I'm used in an appropriate manner, and that I'm not used for some asshat's photo op? Is it enough to get reassurances over the phone? D. *As a solo private practitioner, two weeks away from the practice is one big chunk of change. So I spoke with my parents, and they'll back us up financially if we run into a crunch. (Thanks, M & D!) Which seems inevitable, given the way we're hemorrhaging money into our home remodel. Which is also why we have no savings at the moment. It hasn't escaped me that it's preposterous to worry about the home remodel when these folks don't have homes anymore. P.S. One of the good things about homeschooling Jake: I have control over his homework assignments. Correct the following sentence. George W. Bush said, “This ain’t my problem. Its someone else’s.”


Blogger Anduin said...

I think it's great that you have the ability to go and help the people that survived. I wish there was more that could be done. Best wishes to you and to your family for supporting you.

9/07/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

can you call the hospitals in the area directly? bypass the disorganized overseers?

That's what a lot of the volunteers I know are doing--skipping the bureaucrats and talking to the people in the field.

Maybe you should take your homeschooler with ya. Talk about life lessons. Yeesh.

9/07/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Gracias, Anduin.

Good suggestion, Kate. I don't think I'd be able to bypass gov't altogether (state licensure and malpractice coverage issues) but I'd probably get the inside scoop from the local hospitals. Also, I have friends in Houston and San Antonio. They might have some inside info, too. Phone calls tomorrow!

9/07/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Do your best and if you find yourself in a photo-op instead of in a hosptial, bitch loud and long at the cameras about it. The press is all OVER that kinda stuff right now, and no doubt you'd wind up as a sound byte on 60 Minutes. Not the kind of service you want to render, but a public service nonetheless.

9/08/2005 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks, Beth. You bet I would bitch. And spit, and kick.

It's looking promising. I spoke with Univ. Texas San Antonio's ENT dept (where I used to be on faculty) and the chairman's secretary says that Dr. Holt (one of the senior guys there) will be leaving any time now for Louisiana. So, I guess they do need ENTs! I haven't heard back yet, though.

9/08/2005 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jona said...

You're a good man, Doug.

9/08/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Lilith Saintcrow said...

What Beth said. And what Debi said.

If you notice cameras on you, bitch.

9/08/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm just enjoying the visual I have of like Dick Cheney reaching to shake Doug's hand, and Doug demanding in a Very Loud Voice, "Why am I not seeing patients? Why am I looking at you instead of looking at patients? YOU LOOK PRETTY HEALTHY TO ME."

It has me giggling. hee!

9/08/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

If you feel like you're in some kind of media feel-good moment, with high-level politicos using you as a backdrop, just start flipping the bird at every camera you see. What's the worst that can happen? Camp Gitmo?

9/08/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Candy said...

Doug, Karen and all of Doug's family: you rock. Best of luck.

And yeah, what Beth said.

9/08/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

Doug, you might want to read Otter's blog

9/08/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger amanda m. said...

Um, Doug, NO. I forbid you to go down there and be co-opted for those media whores.
Better you should go volunteer your time in LA or hey, what about the NEEDY in San Diego????? How about one of those free clinics that could use your services???
There are many, many poor in your area who need help and compassion and oh, I dunno, MEDICAL care from an esteemed physician such as yourself.
Hmmm???? How about that?
You need a nurse for your inner-city volunteer-a-thon? Call me. I'll tell the disability people to fuck off and come help you. Hablo espanol un poquito.

9/08/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks everyone. I'll update things for today's blog.

Pat: why would flipping the bird help? Never stopped the cameras from clicking on Dubya.

Kate: Karen's checking out Otter's Blog as we speak (as I write?) Unless she sees something truly funky, I'm going to call the number Otter posted, since Louisiana DHH hasn't called yet. (and what's up with that? Too busy? Too disorganized?)

Amanda: I trained at LA County hospital, and my practices (academic and private) have always included Medicaid patients, both in Texas and here. My only restriction in California: for adult MediCal, the docs have to call me first. I probably block fewer than 1 in 10 patients, and that's usually because the consult is inappropriate (dental, neurological, etc.)

Point is, I do my part here, but NOLA is wholly different. The scale and the depth of this disaster leaves me wordless. My life would be a lot easier if I could say, "I do my part here at home," but it just doesn't wash.

That said, if I end up being the feather in some asshat's asshat, you may say, "I told you so," and I won't squawk.

9/08/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger amanda m. said...

My problem with this, and it has NOTHING to do with you, because I know you are the type to pitch in where help is needed, my problem with this, is that they really don't have a fucking CLUE where to put their resources, as in the volunteer docs and nusres, so instead, you guys get co-opted adn left out to dry, not enough equipment or supplies, not enough of anything and then the media-whore campaign had one more group to blame for whatever. I dunno. I just worry about you. And WHY aren't they shipping more people to California or Arizona or New Mexico??? Why aren't they being shipped to fucking LAS VEGAS where there are plenty of hotel rooms free and tons of restaurants to cater meals and tons of docs to take care of them??? I don't understand why more resources aren't being tapped and why it's turned into this huge cluster-fuck, and most of all, I'm angry because my back isn't fixed so I can volunteer to work next to docs like you and learn something while giving comfort to those who need it.
Take your laptop and get a data plan with whatever cell phone companyu is operating where you are and you'll be able to keep on blogging. The GSM network is high speed, so Cingular or T-Mobile is good, but perhaps one of the others is operating where you want to go.

9/08/2005 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

If you go, please post regular reports because.
1. We'll worry
2. They're kicking out the media. That means the truth has to come from people like you.

You're a good person.

9/08/2005 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks, you guys. Amanda, I hear you, I really do. And I thought of all those things, too, but all I can do is hope they work out their stupids before I get there. (Yeah, right.)

Kate, I must admit that one of the reasons I want to do this is I have a hard-on for journalism and this is the real thing.

9/08/2005 07:34:00 PM  

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