Could Have Lied

I was ready to come back from a conference in Chicago and write about the rosy state of medical blogging. I'd describe how my presentation on an EM journal club blog was received, and report how physicians are finally becoming comfortable with sharing their opinions online.

But then I had to work a ton of shifts. And then I saw Kevin MD's post about Black Wednesday, and realized I'd have to write a more balanced entry. And then I saw that others were already doing that, surveying the landscape and summarizing the viewpoints.

I would have added that the alleged blogger-in-hiding, Fat Doctor, had in fact gloriously returned, and then would try to synthesize this week's news -- that Wall Street's listening in on Sermo's physician forums, and the AMA will endorse this, finally legitimizing what we'd known all along -- doctors' online musings make for compelling reading.

But then today, the Boston Globe revealed the identity of Flea, and that his activities as a medical blogger prompted his legal team to settle a malpractice trial. Kevin has the coverage, with some great insights from readers in the comments section.

As I kept reading, I noted that, once again, the comments devolved into a stalemate over doctor's compensation, malpractice liability, and society's expectations.

Why do so many threads on so many blogs end this way? It's tiresome, and I used to think it was just trolls and newbies... but now I wonder if trading barbs about money and risk is just a natural response to medical blogging.

A physician's opinion is always worth something. Everywhere these opinions are expressed -- in the clinic, in M+M, in scholarly journals -- regulations and standards have sprung up, to ensure we're not abusing this privilege, and are acting with the noblest of intentions.

It seems the same forces have begun to act upon medical blogging.

I'd like to write more about this... Really. But after this week, it's clear -- there's more incentive to share my thoughts in protected communications with graciously appreciative clients.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Recent events, a new Gap commercial, plus the discovery of a British pop band -- it's got me thinking. Just like Seinfeld had an entire episode where the gang was waiting to be seated at a Chinese restaurant, I propose a musical that consists of nothing more than a woman waiting to be seen in an emergency room.

Think of it. It'd be a little like Waiting for Godot, but set to music, and with a bigger payoff. There'd be pain, suspense, heartbreak, and the promise of an end to suffering. Everything you'd expect in a musical!

I further suggest the woman be named Annie. I'd like the enterprising producer who options this project to know, the music will be based on these three songs:

1. Annie Waits (Ben Folds)
2. Annie, Let's Not Wait (the Guillemots)
3. Annie, Get Your Gun (Squeeze... and, uh, the musical)

We could easily work in The Band's The Weight with its commonly misheard lyric, "Take a Load Off, Fanny" (bonus relevance: the song may actually be about an STD).

Further inspiration could come from the Annie soundtrack, or Wikipedia's Songs with Annie in the title.

A show like this prompts lots of unique considerations -- the length of the show could be stretched arbitrarily (Monday shows and matinees, for instance, would always run longer).

Actors and actresses could be forgiven for sounding flat or moving sluggishly -- they're playing sick! Also, costuming and set design couldn't be simpler.

Best of all, a show like this wouldn't need a big Broadway opening. It could play in hundreds of sites, in cities large and small, every day. I predict our first year could play to a captivated audience of 100 million.