Archive for December 6th, 2005

A Dead Cert

How to avoid paying inheritance tax. via BBC.


This Indo piece raises an important question regarding the relationship between patient and medical staff in Irish healthcare. However, I think the issue is clouded somewhat by classifying the awful story of Jessica Darcy Lampf as ‘a morality tale’.

Morality, at least in the day-to-day practices of hospitals, does not come into it. From my own experience, doctors and nurses in the Irish health system are simply deficient when it comes to communication with patients. Either communication is not properly taught as part of medical training, or the system prevents it from taking place. To that extent, there are concrete steps that can be taken to address the problem.

Yet I sense that there are cultural influences at play here. Each time I am attended by Irish medical staff here, I get treated with the same curious mix of authoritarianism and informality that seems peculiar to Ireland. It is not that you are told not to question the doctor or nurse’s opinion; you are simply made to feel as though you ought not to. The closest comparison I can make is the way it used to feel when talking to someone in holy orders. The historical connection between holy orders and the medical profession in Ireland is compelling.

Update: for background reading, see UK GMC Review of Good Medical Practice notes on importance of good communication in Medical Care. Thanks Pat.

Right now I can’t read too good

I have spent my time peeking into Desolation Row.

Election Strategies

Richard Gott:

The US-backed strategy is to use apparently neutral non-governmental organisations to tell the world that the elections are not free and fair, that press freedom is under threat, and that human rights are not respected. These allegations are then exaggerated and amplified in Washington.’

Bill Frist:

Last year, Congress allocated $2 million to the NED’s efforts in Venezuela. There, NED grants supported organizations dedicated to protecting press freedoms, advocating for land reform and developing neighborhood-level organizations in poor areas of major cities. Given the near-collapse of Venezuelan democracy, it’s clear that we didn’t do enough. In the Senate’s next session, I intend to push for a large increase — at least a doubling — of our funding for the NED in Venezuela. With more resources, we can help give the Venezuelan opposition a fighting chance. The United States should also consider renewing its call for the Organization of American States to investigate Venezuela’s election procedures and commitment to democracy.

Madrid Wagon Leaves Vanderlei Behind

Sid Lowe on the sacking of Vanderlei Luxemburgo, the latest in a litany of managers to pass through Real Madrid of late:

Vicente del Bosque, the last Madrid coach to actually win anything, was too fat and too moustachioed – “old fashioned”, ran the official reason. Carlos Queiroz was handsome and modern but not hard enough. José Antonio Camacho was too hard. Mariano García Remón was going to be the new Del Bosque, said Pérez. Del Bosque had been sacked after winning the league; García Remón got it half right. He was another that was too soft and paid for leaving Beckham and Ronaldo out (and for being a goalkeeping coach for goodness sake). Luxemburgo called himself the Commandant, the man who must be obeyed, and had what Florentino called moral authority.

Only he didn’t. No coach at Madrid ever does. Sacking Luxe is the right decision, but that does not make it the solution.

At the same paper, Kevin McCarra comments on the prospect of Mourinho

Though Real might think they would love a Jose Mourinho at their club, the president will not yield the power that is essential to such a meticulous, all-encompassing managerial style.

Nor, one imagines, would the more influential members of its dressing-room.

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December 2005