I would like to take a moment to respond to the article "Dollars for Docs" (Sept. 15). As a "Doc" I can admit that I need "Dollars" to conduct my life and care for my son, but never have these "Dollars" tempted me to change what I expect of myself, which is to offer my best medical advice based on my own knowledge and research, my experience and the experiences of my patients, what I have learned from my colleagues and current expert guidelines -- not biased by novelty items or free food. I truly believe that my colleagues in Humboldt County consistently represent this ethic. What's more, the dinners I have attended, some of which were presented by our own local specialty talent, Dr. Dorman being a perfect example, have been supremely educational moments for the group of primarily primary care clinicians in attendance -- a chance to learn and communicate about our separate experiences with real life patients and diseases.
Sadly there are no other avenues which so easily create this kind of professional community forum and dialogue without going through the formal CME (continuing medical education) process, which remains a very important element for all practitioners. A typical two- or three-day CME course will cost a clinician over $700, not including travel and accommodations; this is simply tuition. I believe in the importance of critically reviewing all medical literature and the recommendations of pharmaceutical representatives, as I believe most of my Humboldt colleagues do. I encourage all patients to discuss with their primary care clinician or specialist what "off-label use" means, for without this very common practice, much of what we know works in medicine would not be brought to use in the service of our patients. Please remember that our pharmaceutically employed community members deserve our respect as well for they provide a service and, I find, do it with commitment to providing the research accurately and with attention to discussing only FDA approved uses. We are all in this together, trying to do our best for each other, and for that I say thank you.
Wendi Joiner, Redway