Saturday, February 02, 2008

Gonzo Medical Blogging

Periodically, I will add a new blog to my "blogroll". Unlike many bloggers that maintain such lists, I try to post only the ones I like to read frequently. Some bloggers maintain huge alphabetized lists of blogs, a practice I've never really understood. Perhaps these lists grow because of quid pro quo (you link to me and I'll link to you, a practice I hate) or perhaps some people just like the look of really unwieldy, completely unfiltered lists.

Personally, when I look at someone else's blog, I enjoy looking through their blogrolls to see just what they like to read. Being an avid reader, I'm always curious about such things. When my patients or their families have books with them in the hospital or exam room, I invariably ask what they're reading. Huge blogrolls don't really give me that kind of insight into the compiler's tastes.

At any rate, this post is to announce an addition to my blogroll. That we are judged by the company we keep concerns me as I add a link to Panda Bear MD but what can I say? The guy is hysterically funny and says things that many of us think but are unwilling to express in polite company. Panda is a resident in emergency medicine. I'm sure he is a bit older than his fellow residents as he's described a wide variety of prior life experiences.

This added age undoubtedly gives his writing a level of sophistication extremely unusual in someone the age of a typical resident. If I had to pigeonhole him, I guess I'd call him the Hunter S. Thompson of medical writing, an appellation I'm sure he'd understand as a compliment.

I enjoy his observations, his insights, and his style very much and have pointed colleagues, nurses, and residents towards selected posts to much hilarity.

Truthfully, I sometimes worry about Panda. My hope is that his posts are put-ons and that the darkness, even bitterness, imbued in his writing is more for shock value than anything else, sort of like Ann Coulter's subtle style. But I have my doubts. His writing is too authentic and fluid.

I think that while most of us will occasionally laugh at the peccadilloes of our patients and their families, most of us don't define such people by them. I hope he is happy in what he does and that if so, medicine continues to sustain him. Unfortunately, my suspicion is that his cynicism has been acquired at far too early a stage in his career. He has all the markings of someone headed for premature burn-out. Hopefully by turning others' attention to his writing, I'm not reaffirming his world view and somehow facilitating such burn-out.

One last point Panda, if you're reading this. You should give some serious thought to posting your name and your institution. Not because I want to know who you are but instead, to protect yourself. While I don't recall reading anything you've written that's frankly libelous or in violation of HIPAA or terribly likely to get you into trouble, some of your posts definitely push the envelope. I think that writing without the imagined security of anonymity helps ensure just enough caution to prevent saying things that can have tremendous legal or professional repercussions. Internet anonymity is fleeting. Just ask the Flea.

My two cents.

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1 Comments:

Blogger H G Stern, LUTCF, CBC said...

Interesting post.

I agree about the huge blogrolls I see at certain sites. I also try to keep ours "manageable."

As regards anonymity, you raise some interesting points. You may recall the whole sad l'affair Flea-Bitten, where the wayward physician's anonymous blogging "done him in." I think there were some valuable lessons in that, most notably what you describe as "the imagined security of anonymity."

Just my $.02

February 19, 2008 10:55 AM  

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