14 Observations on Healthcare from a Country Doctor

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Last weekend I caught the tail end of NPR’s interview with David Loxtercamp, a Maine physician and author of A Measure of Days: The Journal of a Country Doctor. The interview ends with Dr. Loxtercamp’s 14 thought-provoking observations on health:

  • Health is not a commodity.

  • Risk factors are not disease.
  • Aging is not an illness.
  • To fix a problem is easy, to sit with another suffering is hard.
  • Doing all we can is not the same as doing what we should.
  • Quality is more than metrics.
  • Patients cannot see outside their pain, we cannot see in, relationship is the only bridge between.
  • Time is precious; we spend it on what we value.
  • The most common condition we treat is unhappiness.
  • And the greatest obstacle to treating a patient’s unhappiness is our own.
  • Nothing is more patient-centered than the process of change.
  • Doctors expect too much from data and not enough from conversation.
  • Community is a locus of healing, not the hospital or the clinic.
  • The foundation of medicine is friendship, conversation and hope.

The tentative title of his new book is “Conversation, Friendship and Hope.”

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One Response to “14 Observations on Healthcare from a Country Doctor”

  1. T.McGraw,D.O. says:

    Comment refers to statements aboiut”data” and “foundation of

    Data is driven by those who are not physicians. They understand it. We do not. They do not share. It is probable that we are negectful in this realm,but only large hopitals or institutions ha ve the man-power to represent us.

    Friendship and conversation has been weakened by HIPPA and the absence of hospital practice.

    In spite of my comments MEDICINE is the GREATEST.