What I'm Reading (Nov. 25)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Nov 25, 2021
Puritans – not in a good way, nightsoil, wellness, and a tasty side-dish of my own authoring.
Image courtesy of GraphicMama-Team on Pixabay

Editorial Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, I will be offering a side-dish to What I Am Reading – a piece I wrote for the American Council on Science and Health in honor of the holiday.

It goes by many names, my personal favorite is nightsoil. Our fecal discharges might be a valuable resource if it was so icky.

“DC Water processes the contributions of about 2.2 million people who live, work, or visit the capital and the area that surrounds it. There’s input here from every residential house, every apartment building, every business and every historical landmark—Tyson’s Corner, the Smithsonian Institution, the Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Hill. And the White House, of course. There’s some presidential poop percolating in those aerating tanks, along with the input from the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Pentagon, and the protestors chanting in front of the White House lawn. “That’s where all of us come together,” quips Bill Brower, a resource recovery engineer who is showing me around the plant. “And I’d like to thank all these people for their contributions.””

Nautil.us tells us about a waste resource management system that we might consider modeling. This Is Some Good Shit


“Medical norms are always shifting. Before Flexner came along, hospitals practiced a hodgepodge of techniques associated with a broad range of philosophies. After Flexner, order was brought to the chaos. Today, as some hospitals become more permissive, there is no obvious approach that will satisfy everyone. “No Wellness Allowed” doesn’t work, but neither does “Anything Goes.” Patients like Lila and Toby want autonomy and human warmth. Cautious physicians want evidence. Wellness practitioners ask for space and a financial infrastructure that supports their work. There may be no place where these circles overlap.

The way forward may not lie in the adoption of any one structure but in the cultivation of an attitude that accepts that people have a range of needs when it comes to their health and well-being.”

Should traditional hospitals offer wellness. What is wellness after all? From The New Yorker, Medicine’s Wellness Conundrum


“The censoriousness, the shunning, the ritualized apologies, the public sacrifices—these are rather typical behaviors in illiberal societies with rigid cultural codes, enforced by heavy peer pressure. This is a story of moral panic, of cultural institutions policing or purifying themselves in the face of disapproving crowds. The crowds are no longer literal, as they once were in Salem, but rather online mobs, organized via Twitter, Facebook, or sometimes internal company Slack channels.”


From the Atlantic, The New Puritan

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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