The PMD Critical List: Should Doctors Attend Patient Funerals?

A majority of surveyed Australian physicians responded that they had attended funerals of their patients in the past. Is this recommended? Plus, a study shows that the anxious are more vulnerable to cancer, at least among men, and Scientific American has published what it calls a "disturbing picture" of how the FDA may manipulate the scientific press. These stories and more comprise this week's Critical List.

A majority of surveyed Australian physicians responded that they had attended funerals of their patients in the past. Is this recommended? Plus, a study shows that the anxious are more vulnerable to cancer, at least among men, and Scientific American has published what it calls a "disturbing picture" of how the FDA may manipulate the scientific press. These stories and more comprise this week's Critical List.

Should Doctors Attend Patient Funerals? (Science Daily)

New research from Australia has shed light on how many doctors are attending the funerals of their patients and the reasons behind their choice. The researchers say more needs to be done within the medical profession to openly discuss the issue. Nearly 60% of the doctors have attended at least one funeral of a patient.

63% of Doctors Pessimistic About the Medical Profession’s Future (Health Media Leaders)

Who knew? “Medical doctors are largely overwhelmed by their work and disengaged from key healthcare reform measures such as value-based payments, accountable care organizations, and electronic health records,” according to a new nationwide survey commissioned by The Physicians Foundation.

What Hollywood Gets Wrong and Right About Doctors (Business Insider)

“There are a ton of tropes and clichés out there about medicine and those who practice it. But what's reality and what's just creative license? Here are six myths about doctors and medicine that TV land frequently puts out there, along with four surprising tropes it often gets right.”

Anxious Men More Vulnerable to Cancer (Los Angeles Times)

Worried to death? “Men over 40 who are plagued with the omnipresent of generalized anxiety disorder are more than twice as likely to die of cancer than are men who do not have the mental affliction,” according to new research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress.

How the FDA Manipulates the Media (Scientific American)

Documents obtained by Scientific American “paint a disturbing picture of the tactics that are used by the Food and Drug Administration to control the science press.” According to this in-depth report, “the watchdogs are being turned into lapdogs.”

‘17 Family Physician of the Year (AAFP.org)

“The American Academy of Family Physicians has awarded its highest honor to Karen Smith, MD, FAAFP, of Raeford, North Carolina. The annual award recognizes a family physician who stands out among his/her colleagues for providing compassionate and comprehensive care, enhancing the quality of the community, and acting as a credible role model.”

Turn Off the Computer and Listen to the Patient (Wall Street Journal)

“Today our healthcare system is losing its humanity amid increasingly automated and computer-driven interactions between doctors and patients," according to a hard-hitting essay by two doctors. “Doctors have an obligation to act as stewards of the medical profession and with humanity toward patients and should insist upon the undivided attention necessary to do so.”

Doctors Moving From Small to Large Practices Rapidly (Orlando Sentinel)

“The change is happening across all specialties,” according to a Health Affairs study, “but primary care is leading the charge: Between 2013 and 2015 the percentage of primary care doctors in small practices dropped from 25% to 19%, while small specialist practices dropped from 21% to 20%.” Is it an “evolving health-care system?”

Making Physician Leaders (Fierce Healthcare)

“A bigger leadership role for physicians can help drive the transformation healthcare needs, but both hospitals and doctors must do their part to make it work. They must break free of the perception that a doctor is “a great team leader but not a great team player. Rather, the ideal physician leader is a “player-coach.”

A New Factor When Choosing a Surgeon (Wall Street Journal)

A new study in the British Medical Journal “builds on the longstanding view that the busiest doctors get the best results. Copious research shows patients of active surgeons are less likely to die or suffer complications from an operation. And doctors who specialize in a single procedure may provide the best odds for a successful operation.”