A good doctor always … listens to his patients. Patients tell their story. They know what’s going on with them. If you listen to what they have to say and ask the right questions, 98 percent of the time you will have the answer in front of you. It’s a lost art.
My typical patient … doesn’t like doctors. I have the people who have had poor experiences or not-optimal experiences with other physicians. They’ve gone and gone and gone, and then they try to not go to doctors, and then I see them and then they’re mine.
My biggest headache is … red-tape and paperwork—prior authorizations and formulary changes every January. Somebody has been fine with something for eight years, but now the formulary changes to save a penny. … It’s kind of them [insurance companies] dictating how to treat patients—not so hot with me.
The best advice I give: The list of reasons to continue smoking is empty; the list of reasons to stop smoking is endless.
The best advice I’ve gotten: Take time for yourself. I take off Wednesday afternoon, so I have a midweek break. I play tennis or go to the gym if I can’t find a partner. I do cardio or weight resistance. Sometimes [my patients] join me. I’m known as the Gym Nazi because I do practice what I preach.
My most memorable patient … was on a motorcycle plowed by a semi. He had so many fractures, intracranial swelling, fluid around his heart, fluid in his lungs. We fixed everything, and he should have woken up. He was written off for dead, and the wife was just about to say, “Turn off the plug.” And I said, “Let me try a couple of things. … Give me a week.” Literally, two hours before we were going to pull the plug, he woke up. I was looking at one of the wounds in his legs. When he said my name, I screamed out. I just freaked out, like a horror flick. I went out, embarrassed. I went back in there and was like, “Are you OK?” And he’s like, “Can you get me a Coke?” The guy’s been out for 70-something days, and the first thing he asked for was a Coca-Cola.
One thing most people don’t know about my specialty: We have to be experts in everything. A misconception is maybe we just take care of colds and flus, but our training and background prepare us, and we do have to deal with every aspect of a patient, head to toe, womb to tomb.
The biggest difference with Obamacare is … electronic medical records being required for improved patient safety. And I agree with that [and have implemented it]. Just reading horrible writing over the years from everybody does not help. Nothing else has been implemented on the grass-roots level.
What the health-care industry needs most is … Insurance reform. President Obama could have done very well had he come in and reformed Medicare and instituted a pediatric bill for children under the age of 18 to receive health care and immunizations, and then maybe the second term looking at the ages 18-64.
In 10 years, health care … will be a shit-storm. Obama put in a mandate: 30 million more people for Medicare, 30 million more people to receive Medicaid benefits. There’s not 2 million more doctors to take care of these 60 million people. There’s less—there’s no incentive for physicians to go into medicine and stay. The ones who are into the game, they’re incentivized to retire.
Avoid seeing me by … exercising regularly and minimizing and cutting down on your vices— the smoking, the overeating, the overindulging, the over-living the Vegas lifestyle.