Op-Ed

What it’s like in a country without war

August 10th 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

By Stephen Bergman  |  August 10, 2009 DATELINE: Tierra Tranquila, a house on a mountain above the Pacific in Costa Rica LAST NIGHT we sat out under the equatorial stars and listened to the sounds of howler monkeys, birds, and cicadas. At 2,000 feet, there are no mosquitoes. This morning at dawn we watched three [...]

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He won’t open up? There’s a reason

August 3rd 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

By Stephen Bergman  |  August 3, 2009 A COUPLE sits on a beach on a brilliant July day. They’ve just had a picnic lunch, and are in that hazy sweet space of watching the waves and the gulls, the passing sailboat, or, far out, the tanker. They feel close. The woman, wanting to feel even [...]

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The patient is the world

July 27th 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

By Stephen Bergman | July 27, 2009 MEDICAL STUDENTS in their course on diagnosis are taught: “When you hear hoof beats outside the window don’t assume it’s a zebra.’’ This means that you should think of common diseases first, not exotic ones. Decades ago when I was a medical student in Boston at one of [...]

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Five laws of the novelist

July 20th 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

By Stephen Bergman  |  July 20, 2009 LIKE THE arcane process of film developing in a darkroom tray, several Laws of the Novelist have appeared, and are offered as a guide to those so inclined. Law Number One: Don’t Believe Teachers. The son of a dentist, I always wanted to be a writer. At college [...]

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The farce of dueling psychiatrists

July 13th 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

Boston Globe July 13, 2009 THE RECENT verdict of guilty in the “Clark Rockefeller’’ trial was an affirmation by a jury of his peers that he was not insane at the time of the crime. But the duel of prosecution and defense psychiatrists was at best a farce, at worst a travesty of the profession [...]

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Golfing with Updike

July 6th 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

Boston Globe July 6, 2009 John and I met in 1979 at a writer’s party, shortly after my first novel came out. My impression was clouded by nervous awe, but luckily it was summer and our conversation turned to golf, John’s passion, and my sport at our shared alma mater, Harvard. A week later I [...]

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The pitting of doctor against doctor

June 7th 2009 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

Boston Globe June 7, 2009 THE REASONS for the shortage of primary-care doctors have been clearly described: low pay, long hours, the crossword puzzle of insurance forms required to get paid – which leads to three administrative assistants for every doctor. But the issue is being framed using a classic tactic of the private insurance [...]

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Valor and fear in surgeons

October 13th 2008 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

By Stephen Bergman | October 13, 2008 RECENTLY A Boston hospital was cited for “hours violations” by the Accreditation Committee for Graduate Medical Education (one of 227 violators this year), and was told it would jeopardize its accreditation as a surgery training program if it did not correct the problems – which it acknowledged “is [...]

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A strike for better healthcare

August 5th 2007 | in Boston Globe, Newsroom, Op-Ed

By Stephen J. Bergman | August 5, 2007 SOON AFTER HMO/managed care came to Massachusetts in the late ’80s, I got a call from a patient I had admitted to the 28-day alcohol unit at the hospital. He said that he was being discharged after three days because that was all that the HMO would [...]

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