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    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Adieu: Last week, during an interview about medical blogging, I found myself speaking about Medpundit in the past tense. It surprised me a little, but not completely. Whether or not to go on with this blog is something that I've been mulling over for several weeks. I didn't want to admit it, but hearing myself refer to the blog as "was" and "has been" made me realize that deep down I had made my decision.

    Long time readers will have noticed that the frequency and quality of posts have been declining over the past several months. That is because I no longer have the time needed to devote to it. The phrase "declining reimbursement and rising overhead," is repeated so often in medicine that it seems a cliche, but it's also a reality. I'm spending longer hours at work and seeing more patients to support my office and my family. The 1-2 hours a day it takes to keep up the blog are no longer there. I don't have any hope of that getting better in the foreseeable future. In fact, I anticipate that in the next 1-2 years, I'll be adding even more office hours until I've reached the limits of my physical and mental capabilities.

    I've also come to realize that I've been neglecting my family too long. When I went to a conference last month, I took my children with me. The time I had alone with them reminded me how much I enjoy their company. And it reminded me of how much I've been missing. In another three years, my oldest will leave home and start his own life. The other three will follow in quick succession. I want to enjoy the time I have with them with as little distraction as possible. Work is a necessary distraction. Blogging isn't. My youngest son really drove the lesson home for me on Mother's Day, when he gave me his gift - a flower accompanied by a paragraph written in school. It said, "My mom's a doctor. She owns her own office. She spends all day seeing patients. When she comes home, she does paperwork. But she still has time for me when I scrape my knees."
    I'd like to have time for him when he hasn't scraped his knees, too.

    And so, it's with regret that I take the necessary step of closing down this blog. It's been fun, and I'll miss it, but there are other things in life that need - and deserve - my attention more. So long, farewell, readers. The pleasure has been entirely mine.
     

    posted by sydney on 5/17/2006 11:02:00 PM 50 comments

    50 Comments:

    Wow... I hope you leave the blog up. There is wonderful information here. I've been reading medpundit for years! You'll be missed!!

    By Anonymous geena, at 12:42 AM  

    I truly understand, but want you to know that you will be greatly missed. You made valuable contributions over the years and made people think.

    By Anonymous Sandy, at 1:50 AM  

    Oh man, sorry to see you go, but you have your priorities in the right place and that is what counts.

    And when and if the urge ever hits and the time becomes available, you know where to find us!

    Take care and don't work yourself too hard; you don't want to wind up as a patient! : )

    By Blogger Kim, at 2:31 AM  

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for the last few years. I am a mother of three and work full time also, so I appreciate your struggle. We will miss you, but your children deserve your time. Enjoy and good luck.

    By Anonymous Terri, at 3:12 AM  

    I am also a physician, mother of three and I have been enjoying your blog. Good luck and have a nice life !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:36 AM  

    I have so enjoyed your blog. It will really be missed. Family first, though, completely understandable.

    By Blogger cokaygne, at 4:20 AM  

    We'll miss you too.
    I'm a young practitioner from Spain and also try to keep a non-as-periocidcal-as-I'd-like blog.

    Thanks for all these years of posts, news sources and personal "rants". ;)

    By Blogger Jokin, at 6:17 AM  

    All the best. Steve Lucas

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:53 AM  

    You are going to be greatly missed.


    ~Deb

    By Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani, at 7:58 AM  

    I'm sorry to see your blog go. It was very helpful to read. I hope you're able to get that work/life balance back together.

    By Blogger Nick, at 9:38 AM  

    Sorry to see you go. I've enjoyed reading it for the past year or so. It is one of a very few blogs that I was reading every day. Will miss you.

    By Anonymous diora, at 10:09 AM  

    I can't say that I am surprised, because I have always wondered how you found the time in the first place (shaking her head in admiration of medpundit's time management skills.)

    Medpundit has been one of my favorite blogs for years. I will miss your insight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 AM  

    Well, my first thought was entirely self centered--how could you leave me. Some months ago I swore off your blog because we often disagreed on "political" positions but I was relauctantly, and then eagerly, drawn to reading it every day. It was funny experiencing a sense of abandonment. But there it was. No doubt exacerbated by the fact that it is part of my daily routine, the fact I recently retired, and have experienced
    the death of two persons to whom I was close. Two eulogies in one week.
    Now that I have whined I wish you nothing but the best and joy with your family who you deeply love. Blogs and even your practice will come and go but friends and loved ones are what remains. My fondest wishes for a good life for all Frank

    By Anonymous Frank, at 12:03 PM  

    I completely understand your dilemma, and wish you all the best!

    By Blogger Aggravated DocSurg, at 12:26 PM  

    I'd like to thank you for the excellent blog, and hope you return someday.

    Even if you don't please leave the site up a) for reference and gistoric purposes, and b) so some jerk doesn't grab your name and use if for evil.

    Best of luck!

    By Blogger Allen, at 4:20 PM  

    Don't let them eat you alive, doc! I am sorry that office hours are forcing you to give up blogging; I hope for your own sake that you won't sacrifice other important things to the all-mighty appointment schedule.I will miss your posts.

    (Says a doctor who left Medicine to pursue writing.)

    By Anonymous Ice Scribe, at 4:31 PM  

    Sydney:

    I would like to thank you for being a true leader for many of us in the medblogosphere. You will be missed. Please let us know if you ever want to publish an op-ed piece at our place, we would be honored to work with you.

    I am sure you will do very very well in your upcoming endeavours.

    Good luck!

    By Blogger Dr.O, at 7:27 PM  

    Thank you for responding to my suggestion several months ago and telling us honestly about your experiences with electronic medical records. Unfortunatly many of us have become a slave to our medical practices and the ever changing requirements and shrinking reimbursements from managed care organizations. Many of us will probably be forced to quit soon. I will miss your blog, but your health and your family come first. Hang in there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:41 PM  

    Oh, boy. We will miss you. You have been my inspiration from the start.

    'Looks like we're on the same boat. But I can still weather the time challenges. For how long, I still don't want to think about it. You made an excellent decision of putting family over blogging.

    Godspeed.

    By Blogger Dr. Emer, at 9:31 PM  

    I am depressed, I feel this was the best medical blog out there. Thanks for the great times

    By Anonymous Bobbyshafto, at 10:07 PM  

    Bye. Will miss you.
    On the other hand, my blog doesn't cover medicine much anymore...too depressing...

    By Blogger boinky, at 10:08 PM  

    The right decision. I'll miss you all the same.

    CH

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:17 PM  

    A loss to the 'Sphere, but we all (mostly!) understand. Come back to us when you get the urge!

    By Blogger david, at 10:31 PM  

    I totally understand . . .maybe you can do a "once a week" like many others--just a little "check-in" with the blogosphere! ;o) Enjoy your family!!!!! (Sounds like your kids are the same ages as mine)

    By Anonymous difficult patient, at 11:21 PM  

    You will be missed. You made an impact on my life. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Dara, at 12:36 AM  

    Sydney, I have to add just one more, "I'm going to miss you" to the list. Medpundit was one of my favorites, and your insights and experiences were terrific. Thanks for the memories.

    By Anonymous Sue Pelletier, at 9:48 AM  

    I'm going to miss you, too. Thank you for all your encouragement in the beginning!

    By Blogger Nick, at 9:49 AM  

    You've done a great job. I've recommended your site to colleagues and patients for a long time. Good luck. Someday I'd like to meet you in person

    By Anonymous Matt Howard, M.D., J.D., at 12:21 PM  

    Great Blog! Would you consider switching to a MDVIP practice to have more time for patients and your self It has helped me

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:47 PM  

    I want to echo the encouragement to post once in a while. No schedule and no expectations but when the thought or meed seems appropriate. Just to keep us updated on your life. The medical posts and discussion of your practice was always interesting but I know I came to develop a respect and fondness for your personal integrity and commitment. My Best Wishes

    By Anonymous Frank, at 12:48 PM  

    Oh, my! I am concerned for your long term mental health.

    Will your delightful intellect, breadth of topics and distillation of opinion be able to stay fined tuned or even survive without the daily pressure to pundit?

    Can the environment you have chosen to drop back to serve you as well as we have?

    Will your patients and children suffer because of leaving us?

    Yes, I think we have done as much for you as you for us.

    Thank’s for the partnership.

    Polly

    [Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart--Anne Frank]

    By Anonymous Polly Anna, at 3:30 PM  

    Thank you for your time with us sharing your life, wit and wonderful blogs.

    By Blogger Palmdoc, at 7:22 PM  

    You were (are) the doyen of medical bloggers.

    By Anonymous Matthew Holt, at 1:49 AM  

    Thank you for all your work. Perhaps you might consider posting infrequently, when something you find important comes up. Anyways, good fortunes to you.

    Gene Ostrovsky
    medgadget.com

    By Blogger Gene, at 2:20 AM  

    I've been reading you for so long. I too, often wondered how the heck you found time. You will be missed.

    Dr Daybrother

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 AM  

    I'm not a doctor but enjoyed the insights into your world. Thank you for blogging.

    Janet C

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:46 AM  

    I am very sorry to see you go. Thanks for all of the good insight and information over the years.

    By Anonymous E.B. Dean, at 2:04 PM  

    As I wrote in my post about your decision to close the Medpundit blog, you are the matriarch of the medical blogging community.

    We'll miss you.

    By Blogger Rita Schwab - MSSPNexus, at 5:27 PM  

    it would be a shame that you have to close your blog. but you have put forward such a touching case of priorities that everyone will have to agree with you.

    thank you for all your posts and perhaps we'll hear from you again some day when the dynamics of priorities are tipped in our favor.

    you'll be missed dearly.

    By Anonymous bayi, at 2:22 AM  

    Your blog has been a wonderful source of level-headed information. Thanks very much, and good luck!!!
    - tobias robison,
    precision blogger
    5-23-2006

    By Blogger Daniel H, at 1:42 PM  

    I can relate as well - with a new job & new baby on the way, I can't imagine how you do it so well and so long with 3 kids & a busy practice.

    I hope you post something down the line on how busy health professionals can find balance. maybe it is saying no to good and great things in life so that you can say yes to the best things.

    we'll miss you.

    By Anonymous tony, at 2:47 PM  

    Sydney,
    I'm sorry to see you go, too. But I agree, real life game of deciding between Rock, Paper, and Scissors....Family beats them all.
    Hang in there....
    Steve

    By Anonymous Steve Hoffman, at 2:56 PM  

    I haven't been doing this blogging thing very long at all (and I entered the blogosphere for different reasons - basically because I got royally screwed when public service and "corporate medicine" clashed), but I completely understand where you are coming from.

    Take the break. You've more than earned it and you have the best reasons in the world. But PLEASE do leave the blog up (mostly because I am still catching up). And please consider dropping in periodically to enlighten/encourage those of us who (although notatall worthy) will try to carry on in this medium.

    By Blogger Dr. Mary Johnson, at 3:35 PM  

    Well, hope to see you, read you, again. Thanks.

    By Anonymous Niels Olson, at 8:41 PM  

    take care, we'll miss you. declining reimbursements and jam packed days - i feel you. i don't think i'll be able to maintain much of a blog if/when i hopefully have a family.
    be well.

    By Blogger Dr. Charles, at 11:16 PM  

    Just a year, your blog was a daily read for me, but lately I've noticed that I've cut back quite a bit, spending more time with work.

    I'll miss not having updated material to read Sunday mornings...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:20 AM  

    Echo the call to leave the blog (and especially the name) up.

    Also, perhaps you could post once a month or so, just when something comes to mind that you just 'must' share with your readers.

    Hope you acheive a good balance between work, play, and family.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:43 PM  

    Altough I read your blod only randomly i will miss it...

    I´m not the guy to leave comments but I too hope that you leave the blog up... All the best from Germany!

    By Anonymous Alternativmediziner, at 9:20 AM  

    Nooooooooooo! I'll miss you. We'll miss you. Voices of sanity are so rare these days. I perfectly understand your reasoning (I sometimes only post a blog once a week), but it will be a shame to pull the sheet up over this blog's face.

    All the best,
    Mike

    By Blogger fumento, at 10:42 AM  

    Sydney, I doubt this will resurrect your blog, and I can't make this stuff up, but I just returned home from having coffee with a friend who is married to a doctor. And do you know what the last thing was that she said to me? Please please please blog about how we will not have medical care available as a rule in five years. And do you know what I thought? I have to tell her about Medpundit. And do you know what I then thought? About how I hadn't seen your blog pop up on BrewedFreshDaily's recent NEO list lately. And now I saw it there today, just a few minutes ago, for the first time and smiled, thinking I'd find more of your excellent posting. And instead, I learn that you've had to pull the plug.

    I'm sorry for myself but glad for you for making the decision if it was the one you needed to make. I completely understand that bind.

    In the meantime, I'm going to tell my friend about your site anyway since there's a lot of good stuff that she's never seen.

    Wishing you the best.

    By Blogger Jill, at 11:35 AM  

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