By Peter A. Lipson

Peter is a practicing internist in the Midwestern United States. He writes primarily at denialism blog under the pseudonym PalMD. Aside from the great joy he finds in his family and his work, he likes communicating some of that joy to others. He has a special interest in the ways patients---and we are all patients at one time or another---are deceived by charlatans, and how they experience the health care system. He aims to change the world, one reader at a time. Previous writings can still be found here.


Mr. D. is one of those guys who is just nice. He’s far from gregarious, but everyone who meets him likes him. He’s quiet, reserved, and hates to complain. He’s had his share of medical problems over the last 80 years—emphysema, lymphoma, prostate cancer—all of which he’s treated as inconveniences. When he came into my office with his wife, he looked miserable. His back was hurting so badly that he couldn’t get comfortable. It had been like that for two weeks, but he didn’t want to bother me about it. I asked him the usual questions—any fevers, weakness, incontinence—all negative.…