Before he was chairman of a foundering physician practice management company, David Meyer, M.D., was the ophthalmologist of a foundering Elvis Presley.
Meyer, chairman of Physicians Resource Group, makes two brief appearances to diagnose stages of Presley's glaucoma in the book Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, the second part of author Peter Guralnick's critically acclaimed two-volume biography of The King.
Meyer, a Memphis, Tenn., ophthalmologist, met Presley through the singer's personal physician, George Nichopoulos, better known as "Dr. Nick."
Unlike some doctors cited in the book, Meyer only prescribed medication to cure Presley's condition -- not to support the entertainer's longtime pill habit.
Not that Meyer's prescriptions didn't make an impact. After he treated Presley in 1971 for burning and pressure in his eyes, the singer bragged to friends about taking a shot of cortisone to the eyeball with no anesthetic.
The book does not hold the ophthalmologist responsible for the jeweled aviator glasses that since Presley's 1977 death have been a required prop for any Elvis impersonator.
Cheap humor. The latest joke making its way around the Internet should get a laugh from patients and physicians, but not from managed-care companies fighting to restore tarnished images.
Here's a sampling of the "Top 30 Signs You've Joined a Cheap HMO":
Masters of their domain. Healthcare organizations and others are leaping to grab Internet addresses ending in ".md," and the 8-year-old Republic of Moldova is grateful.
The former Soviet Republic, which is about as large as Indiana and as populous as Minnesota, late last year sold the rights to ".md" to Domain Name Trust of Bonita Springs, Fla. Through its www.register.md site and other intermediaries, the company is marketing ".md" to physicians and healthcare organizations. For example, a Dr. Jones could be www.drjones.md, instead of using the ubiquitous ".com."
".md" is the internationally recognized top-level domain name for all sites based in Moldova. Domain Name Trust founder John Harris spent 21/2 years trying to convince Moldova's Republican Center for Informatics that the name could be worth a bundle if it were exported. He even offered to maintain actual Moldavian sites on his servers in Florida.
Harris and the center signed a 25-year deal in which Moldova will receive $20 per registered name, per year. If Harris' dream of having 1 million ".md" names registered in four years comes true, Moldova would make $20 million per year.
So far, at least 1,200 ".md" sites are in registration.
Lethal weapon. Counting on your hospital's pharmacy computer system literally could be a grave mistake, according to a study by a medication watchdog group.
Only four of 307 hospitals participating in an Institute for Safe Medication Practices field test detected all 10 specific, lethal medication orders entered into their computer systems. Although the institute acknowledges the study was not designed to be scientifically valid, it uncovered problems such as toxic doses of certain drugs going undetected, computer users not being required to acknowledge warnings that flash on their screens, and pharmacies and laboratories not linking to share information.
The companies that sell the computer systems obviously aren't happy with the survey. McKesson HBOC, whose systems were used in 27% of the tests, says any attempt to blame the computer system alone for errors is not fair because other factors come into play, such as the knowledge of the person using the system and the library of substances available.
Baby talk. New York pediatrician Paula Elbirt, M.D., hopes to become the Dr. Spock of the information age. In 1997, she established www.drpaula.com, a Web site that provides child-care advice.
Elbirt launched the site with her husband after deciding she could spend more time answering parents' questions online via e-mail. The site has more than 10,000 pages and gets 65,000 visitors a month.
Elbirt hopes to achieve the same sort of folksy one-name recognition and respect that Spock did -- as well as make some money. To date, she has spent $350,000 on the site and its staff of four.