PODCAST: Soap-Box Opera of Healthcare Reform?

By Carolyn McClanahan MD CFP

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To start, let us all recall the Canadian physician Sir William Osler MD, one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital in my hometown of Baltimore Maryland, and where I played stickball in the parking lot as a kid. He left a sizeable body of wisdom that has guided many physicians in the practice of medicine. So, allow me to share with you some of that accumulated wisdom and the quotes that have served me well over the years.

From Dr. Osler, I learned the art of putting myself in the patient’s shoes. “The motto of each of you as you undertake the examination and treatment of a case should be ‘put yourself in his place.’ Realize, so far as you can, the mental state of the patient, enter into his feelings.” Osler further stresses that we should “scan gently (the patient’s) faults” and offer the “kindly word, the cheerful greeting, the sympathetic look.”1

“In some of us, the ceaseless panorama of suffering tends to dull that fine edge of sympathy with which we started,” writes Osler in his famous essay “Aequanimitas.”2 “Against this benumbing influence, we physicians and nurses, the immediate agents of the Trust, have but one enduring corrective — the practice towards patients of the Golden Rule of Humanity as announced by Confucius: ‘What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.’”

Medicine can be both art and science as many physicians have discovered. As Osler tells us, “Errors in judgment must occur in the practice of an art which consists largely of balancing probabilities.”2 Osler notes that “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability” and also weighs in with the idea that “The practice of medicine is an art, based on science.”3,4

Osler emphasized that excellence in medicine is not an inheritance and is more fully realized with the seasoning of experience. “The art of the practice of medicine is to be learned only by experience,” says Osler. “Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone can you become expert.”5

Finally, some timeless wisdom on patient care came from Osler in an address to St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London in 1907: “Gain the confidence of a patient and inspire him with hope, and the battle is half won.”6




Osler has also imparted plenty of advice on the business of medicine. In “Aequanimitas,” Osler says there are only two types of doctors: “those who practice with their brains, and those who practice with their tongues.”7

In a valedictory address to medical school graduates at McGill University, Osler suggested treating money as a side consideration in a medical career.8 “You have of course entered the profession of medicine with a view of obtaining a livelihood; but in dealing with your patients let this always be a secondary consideration.”

“You are in this profession as a calling, not as a business: as a calling which exacts from you at every turn self-sacrifice, devotion, love and tenderness to your fellow man,” explains Osler in the address to St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School.6 “Once you get down to a purely business level, your influence is gone and the true light of your life is dimmed. You must work in the missionary spirit, with a breadth of charity that raises you far above the petty jealousies of life.”

It is not easy for doctors to combine a passion for patient care, a knowledge of science and the maintenance of business, according to Osler in the British Medical Journal.9 “In the three great professions, the lawyer has to consider only his head and pocket, the parson the head and heart, while with us the head, heart, and pocket are all engaged.”

While some aspects of practice may fall short or be devoid of appropriate financial remuneration, the giving of one’s time, expertise and experience in improving patient outcomes and the quality of their lives may be the greatest gift. “The ‘good debts’ of practice, as I prefer to call them … amount to a generous sum by the end of each year,” says Osler.9

And so, as you practice medicine and reflect on your career, always remember the words and wisdom of Dr. William Osler, and keep patient welfare as your first priority.


1. Penfield W. Neurology in Canada and the Osler centennial. Can Med Assoc J. 1949; 61(1): 69-73

2. Osler W. Aequanimitas. Chapter 9, P. Blakiston’s Son and Co., Philadelphia, 1925, p. 159

3. Bean WB. William Osler: Aphorisms, CC Thomas, Springfield, IL, p. 129.

4. Osler W. Aequanimitas. Chapter 3, P. Blakiston’s Son and Co., Philadelphia, 1925, p. 34

5. Thayer WS. Osler the teacher. In: Osler and Other Papers. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1931, p. 1.

6. Osler W. The reserves of life. St. Mary’s Hosp Gaz. 1907;13 (1):95-8.

7. Osler W. Aequanimitas. Chapter 7, P. Blakiston’s Son and Co., Philadelphia, 1925, p. 124

8. Osler W. Valedictory address to the graduates in medicine and surgery, McGill University. Can Med Surg J. 1874; 3:433-42.

9. Osler W. Remarks on organization in the profession. Brit Med J. 1911; 1(2614):237-9.

10. Jacobs. AM: PMNews, April, 2015.

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors : Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™ book cover

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On DISPOSABLE and Other “Next-Gen” Credit Cards

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‘Chip & Pin’ Technology

Disposable credit cards are the newest innovation to help reduce fraud and assumed identity scams on e-commerce based websites. As with traditional credit cards, these cards are numbered, but used only once. Then, electronically they are erased so that there is nothing left in the merchant’s database for hackers to steal.

But, in 2014, Congress began looking at new ways to keep personal credit card information safe after several high-profile security breaches at some of America’s top retailers.

WHY? Current credit cards use easy to hack magnetic strip technology from the 1960s. Many consumers want more secure “pin & chip” cards which have been in use in Europe for years. Even though micro-chip technology costs billions to implement, merchants are moving in that direction as they issue new cards to consumers. Most modern polls show nearly half of all people surveyed are extremely concerned about the safety of their personal credit card information.

Burner Cards: Similar to a burner phone or “throwaway” social media account, burner credit cards are temporary, virtual credit cards that are not your “main” credit card. The bank or burner card app will give you a temporary number that links back to your main credit card which you can use for online purchases.

An ANonymous Credit Card provides an extreme degree of privacy and prevents the tracking of your expenses by a spouse, people with bad intentions or government monitoring agencies. It is important to realize that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for wanting to buy something discreetly through an Anonymous Credit Card.

Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid

No number has as far-reaching an impact on your money as your credit scores.

Here are some obstacles, physicians and all of us, should dodge on the road to financial security:

  • Don’t pay for a credit card repair service.
  • Don’t miss a payment.
  • Don’t max out your card.
  • Don’t take a cash-advance.
  • Don’t skip using your cards.
  • Don’t chase interest rates.
  • Don’t apply for several credit cards all at once.
  • Don’t co-sign a loan.
  • Don’t spread our car or mortgage payments.

Citation: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

Denied Credit

If you are denied a credit card, you have the right to obtain a credit report free from the agency which denied you. Your request must be made in writing and within thirty-sixty days. Consumer credit is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The regulations are issued by and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Certain states offer consumers additional rights.  Credit reporting agencies are referred to as a “consumer reporting agency”.

ASSESSMENT: Your thoughts are appreciated.

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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