“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass

What is this blog about?

Short White Coat, Inc. is a collection of  thoughts, experiences, and opinions of  one physician-in-training on the complex relationship between medical and health insurance industry and medical practice. How do doctors learn to think? How do they learn to think about costs? How do they decide what treatments are best for you? How do corporations (and other special interests) influence their decisions?


The face of a future American primary care physician!

Why blog about this?

Health care is, at its most basic, the art (and budding science) of caring for others. Yet over the past 30-40 years, it’s become increasingly entangled with corporate interests and attempts to maximize profits at the expense of compassion and common sense. It’s a complicated story that relates to many issues and is inseparable from the social, political, and economic climate in which it’s occurring. Now health care consumes almost 1/5 of our entire GDP, yet almost 20 million of us will still remain uninsured despite reform. As a nation, our health is average at best, trailing behind most industrialized countries on measures of infant mortality, lifespan, and other important indicators.

Being a medical student (Update: resident physician!) is a unique position – I am beginning to see the problems first hand, but I am not yet as personally invested in the system as a current practicing physician (although my student loan summary begs to differ, repayment is still a ways off in the horizon!)

Who are you?

I’m Victoria Powell, a post-graduate year 1 resident at a large academic center. The views represented here are entirely my own and do not represent ANY institution that I have been or are currently affiliated with.

What specialty are you going into?

Primary Care Internal Medicine

What would it mean for health care to be a human right and not a commodity?

To me, it would mean the provision of medically-necessary, evidence-based, compassionate care in an equitable fashion to all members of society. It would mean the end of the profit motive in medicine. No reform of health care is going to be successful without a difficult discussion of the fundamental conflict of interest that is inherent to relying on for-profit industries to lower our health care costs.  It would mean the introduction of a single-payer, publicly funded system – like an improved Medicare, but for everyone.