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Gov’t, insurers creating fearful doctors, risking lives

(Photo: University of Wisconsin)

Tightfisted insurance companies and dizzying government bureaucracy are squeezing the art out of medicine, forcing doctors to use one-size-fits-all approaches with patients and needlessly putting the lives of patients at risk, according to a patient advocate and My Life is Worth It co-founder Bob Tufts.

Tufts pitched in the major leagues, went on to become a Wall Street executive and now teaches at Yeshiva University. He said he never missed a day of work in 30 years before getting a series of small colds a number of years ago. His doctor ordered tests that confirmed Tufts was suffering from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

Thanks to excellent instincts by his doctor and the embrace of a novelty drug therapy including thalidomide, Tufts said he felt largely back to normal within nine months.

But he said his experience is far from normal, starting with doctors willing to do extra tests to hunt down possible ailments.

“They’re getting scared to do it because many doctors have been forced, due to the cost of electronic health records and all the government mandates into hospital systems. And the more you’re into a system, they’ll over-regulate what the doctor can and cannot do,” Tufts explained.

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He said the art of medicine is lost as a result, and doctors are instead practicing the science of medicine and simply treating patients based on the odds. Tufts said if he lived in the United Kingdom or some other country with government-run care, he’d probably be dead.

“When I was diagnosed, my drug was just approved for off-label use in the United States. It was not approved in the U.K. And, frankly, for front line use, it was not approved until much later,” he said.

“Considering the way my cancer was high-risk, by…

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