UofL doc's article focuses on physician's fundamental responsibilities

UofL doc's article focuses on physician's fundamental responsibilities

Stillman, Tailor tell New England Journal of Medicine, "Lack of insurance can be lethal."
UofL doc's article focuses on physician's fundamental responsibilities

Each physician's responsibility for improving conditions for the un- and under-insured is the focus of a "Perspective" article, penned by a pair of UofL Department of Medicine doctors, appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Physicians have a fundamental responsibility to treat people in need, to educate their patients about health care reforms and to work with their professional organizations to demand health care for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

That is the thrust two University of Louisville physicians, Michael Stillman, M.D., and Monalisa Tailor, M.D., put forth in a "Perspective" for the New England Journal of Medicine.

Their article, "Dead Man Walking," will be published in an upcoming print issue of the publication and was posted online Oct. 23, 2013.

The two Department of Medicine faculty tell the story of a man they call "Tommy Davis" who was chronically uninsured despite being employed full-time. Davis spent a year experiencing severe abdominal pain and constipation. Only when the pain was at its most severe did he come to the emergency room for relief.

The diagnosis? Metastatic colon cancer. Davis will die too soon because he was uninsured.

"If we'd found it sooner," Davis said to the physicians, "it would have made a difference. But now I'm just a dead man walking."