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Defensive Medicine



November 22nd, 2011

Editor’s note: Below, we offer “Defensive Medicine,” the first health policy poetry to appear on Health Affairs Blog. The author is Adam Possner, a general internist and an assistant professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, whose poetry has been featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other publications.

All right, players, huddle up!
We’ve got a big day today.

Lab Test, put on your game face.
You’re our main interceptor.
Your job is to catch numbers
that fall outside normal range.

Imaging Test, back him up.
Be his eyes where he can’t see.
Find every little lesion
and make’em need follow-up.

Referral, you’re the last line.
Our last hope if all else fails.
Keep that risk passing around
far away from our end zone.

Remember, Team, why we’re here:
to defend against lawsuits
while unintentionally
pushing doctor and patient
further and further apart.

Now get out there — make me proud!

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