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Peter J. McDonnell, MD
He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of Ophthalmology Times.
Giving weight to worrisome reports
People—like my neighbor and I—for centuries, have tended to give too much weight to negative news stories and gloomy predictions. Hence my resolution for 2016 to pay less attention to the doomsayers and pour more drinks for my friends.
Beware venom ophthalmia
Things that strike terror in the hearts of many Americans—spiders, earthquakes, Ebola virus disease, and politicians with plans to “fix” healthcare—don't faze me much. But, for as long as I can remember, I have had this visceral negative reaction to snakes.
Are medical students happy?
Many, many, many years ago, when I was but a young trainee doing my fellowship year in Corneal and External Diseases, my professor called me into his office on multiple occasions. “Sit down,” he would say, and I did. “So, are you happy?” he would ask. It struck me as an unusual question at the time. Today, I wonder if my professor might have been on to something.
What’s the cost of a human life?
The expenditures for medical care in our country are “unsustainable,” says the Dallas Morning News, whereas The New York Times, in an editorial entitled “Why we must ration healthcare,” declares the monetary valuation of human life to be immoral. Everybody says we spend too much on healthcare, so they must be right. Right?
Playing the blame game
Whose fault is it for damaging the U.S. healthcare system?
Following a physician code of conduct
Society has variable expectations about the integrity with which people conduct themselves.
What have you learned in the past 10 years
What have you learned in the past 10 years
Some medical specialties are exploring the possibility of abolishing recertification examinations every 10 years in favor of other alternatives. Is ophthalmology next?
How would an ophthalmologist respond when faced with death?
How does any of this relate to ophthalmology? In our offices, we don’t face dramatic this-or-that moments of choice that define us in the way these young men were defined by their decision. For ophthalmologists there is always only one option—to do whatever is in the best interest of our patients.
Is the FDA violating the right to free speech?
I am grateful that my ophthalmologist friend and I live and practice in countries where we are free to speak our minds.
Should high-volume surgeons have surgical privileges?
Should high-volume surgeons have surgical privileges?
While practice may not always make perfect (at least in this life), it definitely does “make better” not only in sports, but also in the operating room.


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