Health care is broken. Badly broken. I was making a list of areas in which the system is broken (not human error, but system error), and I got up to 53 in one sitting. When I tweeted this, a good friend and fellow blogger wondered why I didn't start a list of things that are right about health care. I pondered a bit whether I was just being a nabob of negativism.* Surely there are good things about our system that balance the bad. Well, there are definitely positive things, especially the people who work in medicine, but I don't know if their existence "balances" out the bad. It's like saying the quality of food on the Titanic was great. Or it's like saying that, despite your terminal cancer, your skin looks fabulous. Both of these facts may be true, but you had best consider the negative first and address it if you can before you dwell on the positives.
On the other hand, I don't want this blog to turn into a whine-fest. A voice that is only critical will soon be ignored. So I am going to start two series of blog posts: one focused on the negatives, and one focused on what I like about being a doctor. I should point out that I have always tried to share the joys I find in medicine (like my most recent post, for example), but I do think my voice needs to be balanced. The problems still greatly outweigh any positives, just as the sunken ship will ruin the food and the cancer will eventually destroy the skin.
But if I start to sound whiny, please let me know. The reason I am pointing out the negatives is because I firmly believe two things:
- Most people don't have any idea just how broken the health care system is.
- There are solutions to many of the problems - solutions that are not being talked about nearly enough.
In the end, I am an optimist. I also like to fix things. I hope the negative tone doesn't drown that out.
* 1 point if you know the historical significance of this term