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Dr. Michael Lockshin on the Bob Salter Show

WFAN—New York—March 29, 2010

Michael Lockshin, M.D., is director of the Barbara Volker Center for Women and Rheumatic Diseases at Hospital for Special Surgery. He is the author, with Alida Brill, of "Dancing at the River's Edge: a Patient and her Doctor Negotiate Life with Chronic Illness."

In your opinion what is the most important part of the recent news of health care reform?

“[The most important part is] getting people who are losing health insurance access. The easiest way of explaining that is – as you know this from the book – most of the patients I see have a chronic illness. It's not a progressively fatal illness but illness that people deal with their entire lives. Watching people as a spouse loses a job or changes a job or as an insurance company decides to change a policy...I have people who are at first under care, then not, then have to go to different doctors. It can be devastating to someone with a chronic illness and being able to get rid of that is very important."

Speaking of the book – how did it come about?

"Ms. Brill describes herself as a social critic – she has degrees in sociology and statistics and has spent her professional life doing studies about how a population responds to certain things. She has a vocabulary that speaks to how physicians and doctors communicate. She’s been my patient for a number of years, about 30. In a conversation at the table, because she's become a personal friend, we were discussing doctor-patient conversation. My wife interrupted and said this could be the subject of a book. We wrote the book as alternate chapters of what she saw at given points of her life and what I saw at those points, and what we didn't tell each other at the time. We end up discussing a lot of things, including access of care, how others, including employers, respond to chronic illness. We also discuss what a person with an illness feels when she is not able to complete a task she's planned, that sort of thing."


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