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.
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.
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.
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?
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.