Sunday, August 11, 2013

Great writing on Medicine & Money - by Fagone, Gawande & Lewis

There's been a few pieces of writing I've seen recently that struck me as particularly excellent on the subjects of medicine and money... which, sadly are inextricably linked perhaps more now than ever.

For evidence of that linkage, one could simply look at the Tampa Bay Times feature series "Never Let Go" I wrote on last week. Included in the third story from the writer, Kelly Benham, was mention of how over a million dollars in micro-preemie infant care cost she and her husband $400, and of course would have financially ruined other parents with different or no health coverage.

A medical story I haven't previously written about and linked to was "Slow Ideas" from the July 29th issue of The New Yorker. It's written by Atul Gawande, a noted surgeon and bestselling author who I've posted about a few times and this latest piece is a fascinating one about how ideas spread and recommendations take hold (in this case recommendations toward reducing infant mortality rates in India).

Another really solid medical piece I've seen lately was "Has Carl June Found a Key to Fighting Cancer?" by Jason Fagone for the August issue of Philadelphia Magazine. It's a piece I previously linked to under a different post topic and is a tremendously interesting look at a doctor doing cutting-edge work. In that regard, the feature reminded me of a couple of other physician profiles I've seen in past years, "Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World" by Wil Hylton for the New York Times and "Adventures in Extreme Science" written on Eric Schadt by Tom Junod for Esquire.

Going to the second side of this medicine and money topic, two other pieces of writing to mention here were both by Michael Lewis. Among other bestselling books, Lewis wrote The Big Short and Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (which I wrote about in 2011) and an excellent recent feature story of his was "Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?" for the September issue of Vanity Fair. The piece was thoroughly reported and details the length to which Goldman would go seemingly to protect their image as a company worthy of the money they make. It's a compelling story and made me think of another piece of writing by Lewis, his "Princeton University's 2012 Baccalaureate Remarks". Really great stuff from Lewis about life and career choices in this speech with the title "Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie".