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Doctors are always ‘in training’

Dear Doc: I listen to your radio show every week. I’ve often heard you say, ‘You want a surgeon that does a lot of whatever-it-is-you-need.’ If everybody did that, how would the next generation of surgeons get trained? Isn’t this a bit selfish?

– Jared from Jacksonville

Dear Jared: Ah, yes, it does seem a bit selfish. It puts me in a moral dilemma. If I, my wife or my kids need surgery, I want the best there is. A doctor in training just doesn’t fit the bill for me.

But yet, I was in training once. And we call medicine “practice” because we’re always in training.

There are people who pick hospitals for a whole bunch of reasons: convenience, how they’re treated, what their insurance covers, how high the level of care is, etc. And many choose to go to a teaching hospital because they like that idea and they think it fits their needs.

If they go to that type of hospital, they should expect that at some point they’ll get a doctor in training. If that doesn’t work for them, then they should go elsewhere.

There is no right or wrong answer here. It’s an individual choice.


Hey, Zorba: I’m a loyal Oklahoma City listener – love the show. I especially love your laugh and the banter you and (co-host Tom Clark) have. Keep up the good work. Recently I’ve been getting painful blisters under my big and second toes of both feet. They don’t itch. They don’t look like warts. I’ve had warts before so I know a wart from a blister. I don’t want to go a doctor, as it costs too much and I’m putting myself through college. I’m a cashier who stands on her feet 12 hours a day. Help. Help. Help.

– Courtney

Dear Courtney: First off, thank you so much for your kind comments about the show. Tom and I love doing it. Now, on to your feet.

My father-in-law was in the orthopedic shoe business. He went to “shoe school” so he could learn how to fit shoes for every foot size and shape, and how to put wedges and lifts in shoes for people with injuries (and, in that day, polio). He was the go-to guy in Chicago for the hard-to-fit folks. He said there is nothing like a good fit to make you smile – and I can’t agree more.

Your blisters are probably caused by ill-fitting shoes. The insole or the tongue might be too tight, or perhaps the vamp (upper section of the shoe), the waist or the heel does not fit to your shape. Or maybe one foot is bigger than the other, not an uncommon problem (mine are this way) that causes poor fit.

I hope, by the way, that these are not platform shoes or 3-inch spikes, because if they are, it’s obvious that you need flats. I suggest you go shopping at a shoe store with lots of shapes and sizes. Find a pair that fits, but shop only in a store where you can take back the shoe if blisters form.

That part is critical. Too many people buy shoes and then feel sheepish about taking them back. Do not – I repeat, do not – follow the lead of those people. Go to a “satisfaction-guaranteed-or-your-money-cheerfully-refunded” type of place.

A shoe that needs to be broken in is not what you need. You need the “feels-good-right-now” shoe.

Until you can find shoes that fit, I would go to your local pharmacy and pick up a Dr. Scholl’s blister pack or “donuts.” Both should work fine in taking the pain out of your feet, thus allowing you to finish college. Good luck. And stay well.

Dr. Zorba Paster is a physician, professor, author and broadcast journalist. He hosts a radio program at 3 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7; email him at