"A compelling story of a medical tragedy"– Kirkus Reviews
A senior ophthalmologist with an EMBA from Georgia State University advises young doctors on the business of medicine.
In this slim, to-the-point volume, Harbin (Waking up Blind, 2009) seeks to fill in the yawning gaps in medical education. Doctors starting out may be well-trained in medicine, he asserts, but typically they’re woefully unprepared for the challenging, unavoidable business aspects of the profession. By his own account, Harbin goes for the big picture and leaves the details for his target audience to work out for themselves. He provides a solid framework for the kinds of choices and business-minded decisions doctors will face not only early in their careers but later on as well. Knowledge of these business aspects, he argues, makes for better, more personally fulfilled doctors, which benefits their patients, too. “This material is just as important as medical knowledge and should be taught at some point during medical training,” Harbin says. Advice includes how to perform due diligence in choosing the right type of practice, how to spot red flags and negotiate contracts, and reasons to check with the spouse before committing to a particular practice or geographic location. Following that are forays into insurance, office efficiency, personal and business finance, and how to deal with troublemaking doctors in a group practice. Also included is counsel on matters such as how to run a good meeting; the key, he says, is a firm time limit. Though well-organized, easy to read and rich in sage advice, the book suffers from a few gaps. A brief mention of the Internet fails to capture the immense changes in the doctor-patient relationship now that medical information can be accessed online; similarly, the relationship between doctors and drug makers gets a light once-over. Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured go unexplored, and there appears to be little information about the impact of Obamacare, even though it will most certainly alter the industry. Notably, the chapter on ethics doesn’t fill two pages.
A limited but valuable resource for new and experienced doctors interested in the business side of medicine.
Harbin (The Business Side of Medicine, 2012, etc.) investigates medical misadventure and malpractice at the top of the ophthalmology profession.
In 1983, H. Dwight Cavanagh, a professor of ophthalmology and department chairman at Emory University’s School of Medicine in Atlanta, prepared to do a corneal transplant on his patient. As usual, he was pressed for time, as he normally scheduled up to 13 procedures per day. His colleagues had previously expressed concern about his habit of biting off more than he could chew, and on this day, Harbin writes, the doctor’s overzealousness caught up with him, resulting in a botched operation that blinded his patient. The doctor eventually lost his job and titles—a small price to pay for such mayhem. Harbin tells an engaging story of a doctor that came to believe in his own infallibility and whose greed and thirst for power caused his patients irreparable harm. One sad element of the story, as presented by the author, is that the doctor’s malpractice didn’t go unnoticed by his peers; unfortunately, his status had long prevented accusations and complaints from being dealt with appropriately. If not for two conscientious doctors, the crimes might have been swept under the rug. The story covers events that occurred over the course of many years, necessitating gaps in chronology, but readers will never have a sense that they’re missing anything. The fact that Harbin is a physician adds immeasurably to his account’s integrity and believability, and his use of layman’s terms will make it easy for mainstream readers to understand. As a result, this narrative of medical misadventure is likely to interest anyone who’s ever put their faith and trust in a doctor.
A compelling story of medical tragedy.