Editor’s Note: This is a review of Dr. Del Meyer’s 18 years with our medical society publication. He has been a regular contributor to SSVMedicine (formerly Sacramento Medicine) since 1993. Several years ago, he began two online publications, the MedicalTuesday Newsletter and HealthPlanUSA. They have grown exponentially, so that he now must devote most of his efforts there. While his Voices of Medicine feature will no longer appear here, it can be found in MedicalTuesday. I want to express to you, Del, my personal thanks and that of the Editorial Committee for your fine and enduring contribution to our publication; you will be missed. — John Loofbourow, MD
The Beginning — 1993
I volunteered for the editorial board of the then Sacramento Medicine in 1992. Upon appointment in 1993, I wrote a series of articles on Basic Health Care, Self Care, and Physician Care. At that time there was a push to put more routine care into health plans, even vitamins and fitness centers were suggested, or anything thought to be health related.
I pointed out that this approach would jeopardize all health plans and make them unsustainable. Europe was eliminating costly items of their socialized government plans. This has been borne out by our experience in the United States.
Part of that series dealt with a cost analysis of the process of dying as more people felt that hospitals were the only environment in which to say goodbye to loved ones. As Intensive Care Units were becoming more sophisticated and relatives could hardly get close to their loved ones with all the tubes and monitors, more Americans chose to die at home.
This can be observed in the daily obituary columns that frequently announce that Mr. JB, born in 1918, died at home surrounded by his loving family. A byproduct of this research also revealed that the people who died in their ninth and tenth decade of life, frequently worked into their eight and ninth decades of life. It is now commonly recognized that early retirement significantly shortens life.
I then wrote a series of OpEd articles treating the issues of the day such as: Managed Care — Friend or Foe; HealthCare Insurance — An Oxymoron? Government Medicine — a Fait Accompli. An article on Military Physician Travelogue detailed my two years of global military travel, courtesy of the United States Air Force.
In 1993, the editor, Dr. Richard Johnson, gave me permission to begin a monthly column that I called Hippocrates & His Kin. In 1994 he announced his retirement after 15 years, and I was asked to be editor.
The Editorship: 1994–1997
During the next four years, I was responsible for the monthly Editorial in the eleven issues per year, and continued to write the monthly Hippocrates Column (HHK) until early 2001, when I began a similar column called Hippocrates’ Modern Colleagues published on my professional site, DelMeyer.net. In June 2005, the Hippocrates Column was resuscitated and incorporated into the MedicalTuesday Newsletter, where it continues to the present day.
In October 1994, I began the monthly Physician/Patient Bookshelf column to review books written by our colleagues on any subject or by any author on medical care and practice. These book reviews can be read topically at the HealthCareCommunication.network.
I had the good fortune of becoming acquainted and working with Jim Coyle, MD, an internist of long standing in our community. In fact, my office was located on Coyle Avenue, named after his father, also a physician. About that time I noted that many of the county medical societies around the state were sending copies of their journals and bulletins to our society. As these were discarded, I requested that they be tossed my way.
Since they contained more useful information than I could possibly use in my “Hippocrates and His Kin” commentary, I asked Jim if he would like to help peruse them and consider writing a column based on these “Other Voices” from around the various medical societies throughout the state. Jim’s column, which ran from April 95 through May 98, developed a richly deserved loyal readership. He became a valuable contributor to the editorial board of this journal — his writings were inspiring and insightful.
I continued to write the Editorials, Hippocrates, and Bookshelf columns every month until the end of my term as editor in December 1997.
The Editorial Board: 1998–2010
After Jim’s untimely death on April 15, 1998, I resumed the perusal of these journals from other medical societies, and realized that they contained a wealth of material. Thus in memory of Jim and as a tribute to his fine work, I continued the column, bringing the opinions of other physicians around the state to our readership. Perhaps nothing new — but in a different voice to pique your interest.
I continued on the editorial board for the next 13 years, writing the Voices of Medicine column and occasional book reviews. Since 2002, I’ve written an enlarged VOM, adding it to my electronic newsletter, available throughout our country and internationally.
At this time, I have thousands of colleagues who request my newsletters and more than a hundred thousand who visit my electronic journal sites each month. I now plan to be more involved with this enlarged format and audience that we reach through our MedicalTuesday Newsletter. I see many opportunities to engage our profession globally. There is a lot of work to be done if we wish to save a personalized health care system from the intrusions of a government bureaucracy, where patient care has to compete with every other budget item from the freeways to prisons. During any recession, our patients would suffer from lack of or inferior care.
The Voices of Medicine
Ten years ago, when I entered “Voices of Medicine” in the search engines, I would see the links of my column reported from Sacramento Medicine. Now when I enter “Voices of Medicine” I see thousands of articles on the Voices of … the various medical schools: Voices of PENN Medicine, Voices of VA Medicine, Voices of Military Medicine, New Voices of Medicine, Voices of Genetic Medicine, Voices of Family Medicine, Voices of Traditional Herbal Medicine, Conflicting Voices of Medicine, Voices from the Heart of Medicine, Books for Voices of Medicine, Voice of Medicine Vaccines, Voices of Personalized Medicine, Voices on Diversity in Academic Medicine, Voices of Integrative Medicine and others. The Google search now gives millions of related articles. This is the highest form of praise.
I will miss the voices of my colleagues in the various California county medical societies whose opinions I’ve come to know and respect. I leave the highlighting of their VOICES for someone else.
Meanwhile, I invite you to read and subscribe to the MedicalTuesday newsletter on Medical Practice issues and the HealthPlanUSA newsletter on HealthPlan issues in our country and globally. You may also keep in touch by subscribing to the Blog on either journal.