Category Archives: books, literature, arts

Dr. Charles Krauthammer on the public’s health vs. individual privacy

To call Dr. Charles Krauthammer an opinion writer is a vast understatement. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose Washington Post column is widely syndicated.

With wit and wisdom he addresses a wide variety of headlining topics, as well as those more mundane, including politics, economics,education, relationships and  lifestyle. His previous background as a practicing psychiatrist qualifies him to comment on medical issues with insight and experience.

In this article about the Ebola virus epidemic and civil liberties,  he addressed  the conflict created by the introduction of the Ebola virus into the United States. He argues that the need to protect the public’s health  and the rights of the individual may not always coincide.

These arguments could apply to situations other than Ebola infection. They include other infectious diseases as well as tobacco use, alcohol and drug use and abuse, motor vehicle safety, mental health , vaccine avoidance, gun ownership, and sexually transmitted diseases.


As a physician, I find it fascinating and amazing that Dr. Krauthammer completed medical school and residency after and despite sustaining a spinal cord injury which caused quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down, preventing use of his arms and legs).

He discusses this, and pays tribute to a medical school professor who helped make it possible in his book

Things that matter : three decades of passions, pastimes, and politics

Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer
Things That MatterDr. Charles Krauthammer on circus elephants, eating meat, and moral choices


both a memoir and a collection of his essays. His success causes one to question how exactly should we define “disability”?


You will find  Dr. Krauthammer on The Washington Post . You may not always agree with him, but I think you will appreciate his creative use of words to express his well thought opinions.

Dr. Charles Krauthammer on circus elephants, eating meat, and moral choices

This related post has links to some of Dr. Krauthammer’s essays on medical issues- “a physician to know 






Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and The Making of a Medical Examiner- a review of words worth sharing



Please click on this link to read an undated and expanded version of this post




Working Stiff: The Making of a Medical Examiner | Pathology Expert.

Working Stiff, a book

Judy Melinek, M.D., and her husband T.J. Mitchell wrote Working Stiff: The Making of a Medical Examiner, an account of her training as a forensic pathologist, a physician specialist who investigates sudden, unexpected or violent deaths.

They lived in New York City for two years so she could study at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). She was at the office when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 and thus collaborated with the team of investigators who worked night and day identifying remains of the victims, a task she vividly describes in the book.

As a forensic pathologist, she understands why and how people die, and therefore also knows how people can avoid dying unexpectedly. As she writes,

“So don’t jaywalk. Wear your seat belt when you drive. Better yet, stay out of your car and get some exercise. Watch your weight. If you’re a smoker, stop right now. If your aren’t, don’t start. Guns put holes in people. Drugs are bad. You know that yellow line on the subway platform? It’s there for a reason. Staying alive, as it turns out, is mostly common sense.” 

Working Stiff moves at a quick pace, in a conversational style. When she uses medical jargon, she explains it in simple terms. She describes the cases she investigated in detail so those with weak stomachs (no pun) may want to skip this read.

Having suffered her father’s unexpected death when she was 13 years old, she was no stranger to death, and she learned more from the 262 autopsies she did during her training. As she says in this engaging memoir,

To confront death every day, to see it for yourself, you have to love the living.” 

I recommend this book.