A medical system in freefall

August 24, 2009

This is the way M. and I feel when we’re together.

But right now, as we wait, wait and wait some more for tests and the results of tests and the next steps before we move, THIS is how we feel.

Medicine is completely effed up. And I mean it. Here’s what we’ve seen:

A doctor wayy too busy to actually explain anything to his patient clearly and in an organized fashion.

That same doctor asked us to hand deliver M.’s blood to the hospital so it would be processed before his procedure. Ourselves. That’s right. We hand-carried a vial of M’s blood to the hospital.

A hospital that then LOST it.

And had to draw it again the morning of the procedure. Just what the doctor thought he’d avoid by having us hand carry it.

Three different nurses or technicians stuck M. four times before they got the blood at the hospital.

We were sent for a procedure without adequate explanation or written pre-procedure instructions. Nothing. Casual, oral instructions.

The doctors recommended M. replicate the angina-producing activity by duplicating the activity that caused it—several hours of moving heavy boxes–right after the femoral artery was opened and THAT instruction was to not lift. Hello? Are you even listening, doctor? (Thank God I’m the daughter of a physician. We brought that to his attention.)

The doctor rushed out of the room to get us an “expedited” date for a test EIGHT DAYS after the request. But the night before, we were told one of the petscan machines was broken, so the test would be one more day later.

Any one of these might have been explainable. But in the aggregate, they show a healh care system in freefall.

The victims? We are. And I’m mad as hell.

Not only because we have to get M’s health handled before he and the menagerie can move in with me, and every day’s delay is a day we can’t cuddle up together. Or that our trip to Italy hangs in the balance. Do we go? or not?

Or that I now have a teaching job and 60 students who would need to be handled if M. needs another procedure in Miami, where we liked the interventional cardiologist who did his angio. Yes, medical system, we patients DO have lives and responsibilities.

I’m also mad because I wholeheartedly believe that the reason for the medical establishment being effed is GREED.

Pure and simple.

Greedy insurance companies are interfering in –practicing, even– medicine so they can reap more profit. As reimbursements drop, greedy physicians have to see more patients to make their large incomes. Seeing more patients means less time for each one.

And more mistakes. Mistakes that can cost lives.

Gone are the days when a physician would sit behind his desk and go over things with a patient. Or even listen carefully. Now you’re a cog in a dysfunctional machine, and lucky if he or she even glances at your chart.

Not all doctors are like this. But far too many are.

The thing is, I knew a different way. My father could be a crotchety doctor, but he listened. He had great powers of deductive reasoning, which made him a great clinician. A diagnostician without peer.

My father wasn’t concerned about making several million dollars a year. In fact, his pediatric specialty is the lowest paying.

He was concerned about finding out what was wrong and fixing it. He even made housecalls.

So when I look at these greedy bastards who pass for doctors today, all I see are imposters in a health care system gone very, very wrong.

I have no answers. Only observations.

And anger. Great anger.

One comment on “A medical system in freefall
  1. TJ says:

    I totally agree with you. You wrote exactly how I feel.

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