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Attentive Docs

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Attentive Docs

I agree completely about the need to take time and listen to patients ["Putting Extra 'Care' Into Health Care," May 1]. As a registered nurse managing an HIV and a cancer program, I can attest to the difference it makes when a patient is treated with respect and understanding. But it shouldn't take the huge fees some of the doctors in this article asked for to get that kind of care. I belong to an HMO and my primary care physician, Dr. Andrea Karp, always makes the extra effort to ensure that all her patients get that special feeling. I also see the same kind of care given to my patients (all Medicaid and DC Alliance) by many of our amazing providers in the HMO that I work for. The personal touch shouldn't have to cost $1,000 for 90 minutes.

Judith Levine BSN, RN

Washington

The personal care advocated by Marc Siegel makes a difference not only in the moment, but in the lasting memories of patients and their families. In my experience, some clinicians truly stand out: the neonatal nurse who did everything so we could cuddle our premature daughter on a Christmas Day; my high-risk specialist who weekly read and answered my written questions with respect and patience; the internist who gave us his home phone number when we learned of my husband's diagnosis with a rare and life-threatening disease. It's gratifying that compassion and caring relationships in health care are receiving attention.

Deborah Dokken

Associate Director

Initiative for

Pediatric Palliative Care

Chevy Chase

Great article, very timely in this day when doctors have become so impersonal. I am 70 years old and I refuse to deal with uncaring doctors who are more interested in what they are going to get from Medicare than in listening to your concerns. If doctors are evasive and do not have time, then I say it is time to change doctors. I do not mind dropping doctors who do not care, and have done so.

Jim Koricki

Rockville

Gardasil

The stranglehold the drug companies have on American citizens and doctors is amazing to me ["Who Gets Stuck?" May 1]. I watched Gardasil's progress through the system and was astounded that state legislatures did not denounce Merck's heavy-handed tactics. Thank God I don't live in Texas, because I would be fighting the state mandate and Merck's obscene prices all the way to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, most pediatricians are getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Merck should be taken to task -- on the front page of The Post.

Lynn Romanek

Bowie

In 2006, Merck not only received approval from the FDA for the HPV vaccine but also the shingles vaccine, Zostavax. Like the HPV vaccine, Zostavax is covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan (BCBS) starting this year. Yet of the 10 doctors I called, none said they had the vaccine, especially when I said I was insured by BCBS. Eventually I received the shot at a Safeway; BCBS did pay part of the cost of the shot, and I paid the rest. However, BCBS never responded to my complaint on the subject.

Eric Axelrod

Oakton

Posture Perfect

"Sit to Be Fit -- and Then Make Some Moves" [April 17] does an excellent job of illustrating the difference between proper and improper posture while sitting at a computer work station. The article, however, neglected to mention anything about improper visual posture, which leads to the number-one complaint among computer users: computer eye strain.

Addressing work-station ergonomics can enhance proper visual posture. A monitor that is too close to the viewer causes an increase in focusing and eye convergence. Moving the monitor farther away helps reduce this strain. Monitor location also plays a critical role in reducing computer eye strain. The monitor should be placed approximately 20 degrees below straight-ahead vision, causing the viewer to look down while at the computer. It is much less taxing on our eyes to look down than look up or straight ahead toward the monitor.

Gregory Katchuk, OD

Michael Berenhaus, OD

Bethesda Vision Care

Bethesda

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