Viewing entries tagged
Health Care

Fatal Error

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Fatal Error

Changing the focus of care to this is more than just emotional idealism, it is good business.  Care should not be about codes, procedures, medications, tests, or interventions, but instead about helping people live their lives with as few problems as possible.  We need an economy that thrives when the patient costs the system less.

Any attempt to reform without this change will ultimately fail.

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My Turning Point

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My Turning Point

As an incurable compulsive introspect, I tend to brood, ponder, contemplate, and (of course) muse on "big ideas," such as:

  • What makes people choose things which cause themselves harm?
  • Are some people better people than others, or are they just more skilled at hiding their problems?
  • Is pain really a bad thing, or is our aversion to it a sign of human weakness?
  • Do dogs watch Oprah?
  • Does God ever wear a hat?
  • Why is "big ideas" in quotes?

Tough questions.  

Lately I've been contemplating the nature of human awareness:

  • Is self-awareness (the ability to think of ourselves in the first person) a uniquely human trait, and is lack of self-awareness the essence of mental illness?
  • Is empathy, or other-awareness the highest of human traits?  Is this what the biblical idea of being "made in the image of God" really means?

Yeah, that's a lot deeper than about dogs watching Oprah.

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Gaia and Snake Oil

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Gaia and Snake Oil

The idea of a 'balance' to be disturbed flies in the face of the reality easily seen in this world: few people get through the year without getting sick, and none ultimately avoid getting some terminal condition.  In short, fighting sickness is always a losing game.

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The Food on the Titanic

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:

  1. Most people don't have any idea just how broken the health care system is.
  2. 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

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Haiku Contest

I am holding a contest on my Facebook page to come up with a haiku about healthcare. I honestly don't care what it's about as long as it is clever (including llamas does not give you an advantage, though). Head on over there and give me your best haiku! You know what is at stake here...

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