Friday, July 21, 2006

The Problem With Doctors

I come from a family full of doctors, nurses and Christian Scientists. Go figure. My dad was a doctor, his brother was a doctor, and they both married nurses. This was back in the day when doctors treated the whole family and made house calls. You know, before there were specialists for everything from cancer to gout. Their patients came to them with all kinds of problems, some of which weren't physical. They worried about their patients/friends and it took its toll. All my father's friends died young, and so did he. So, I think you can say that I have a healthy respect for the medical profession. But, I do have a problem with today's profession.

I can understand a doctor turning patients away because they simply don't have the time to give them quality medical care or even because they have reached their "quota" of non-paying patients. But, I can't understand him/her turning patients away because they are on Medicaid or Medicare.

With Medicaid and Medicare, they still get paid - maybe not as much as they should or as much as they want to, but they do get paid something. Yet, more and more physicians are refusing to take Medicaid and, now, Medicare patients.

They seem to have a sense of entitlement, just because they are doctors. They are entitled to drive expensive cars, buy huge, expensive houses and vacation homes. Their children are entitled to go to private schools and wear designer clothing and take piano lessons, dance, gymnastics, go to expensive summer camps, on and on and on.

When did being a healer become a way to be well heeled? When did we start having to go back for a second appointment so the doctor could tell us we were over our colds? When did it become necessary for patients to go back repeatedly (every month, 3 months, 6 months) so they could be told "so far, so good".

You can hardly have a conversation any more without hearing someone say, "Well, my doctor won't let me......." or "The doctor says I can't...." or "I'll have to check with my doctor........"

Every ache or pain doesn't require medical help. Yet, how many people do you know who can see the doctor without getting at least one prescription? And, they are disappointed if they don't get one.

This is only one reason why healthcare is so expensive, and it's only the tip of the iceberg. Why can't we do something about it?

Rant over.


Dogwalkmusings said...

Don't let the rant be over. I'm with you 100%. If someone doesn't provide the squeak to the wheel it will never change!

F&W said...

Go, Betty, go!

Alan G said...

Morning State-Mate,

I have what has been termed as a border-line hyper-thyroid condition seemingly of little consequence. When my family doctor suspected I might have a bit of a problem due to some test results he of course sent me to the endocrinologist for further tests. That was almost six years ago. I was put on mild doses of medication and have to go back for check-ups every six months. Now….

Finally after six years and just as Betty has mentioned, on my last visit a couple of months ago I asked the endocrinologist if we were going to be mates for life. He chuckled at the way I posed the question but answered, “Yes.” He noted that we never know when the thyroid may go berserk and then we will have to “zap” the little devil. I suppose I will continue going but just as you have so eloquently pointed out…I am really not sure why I am going in the first place. It is kinda like, “Well, as long as you continue to sneeze you need to keep going to the doctor in case it leads to a cold!”

And as you have also pointed out, what happened when it at least seemed that the doctors and nurses in the medical profession had a passion for their work. There is much I don’t know about the medical profession granted, but in the recent past I have had to wonder why nurses would go on strike. It is not that I don’t think they deserve to be treated fairly or compensated fully for their skills – I thought, naively perhaps even at my age, that these folks had a sincere compassion about the well-being of their fellowman and regardless of economic short-comings, would be there when we needed them.

Finally, I have been fortunate to have been healthy most of my life so medical expenses have not been an issue for me. I made good money at my job and so when I went to the doctor or hospital I would pay out of pocket, even though I had excellent company health insurance. My logic was that if I pay, because I can afford the costs, that leaves the insurance untapped so that those who really need it have it and my not using it hopefully helps keep insurance costs down for those who have to pay those costs. And yes, you can be assured that many times it was pointed out to me that I was a complete idiot for doing that.

Now look what your post has caused me to do Betty….Rant! Rant! Rant!

Betty said...

Alan, I would never presume to suggest that you don't need to go to the doctor every six months. That's your own decision to make. But, I wonder, if your thyroid "went crazy" wouldn't you be able to tell it, and consult your doctor about it? I don't know anything about the thyroid gland, except that I'm sure it's the reason I can't seem to lose weight. LOL

F&W said...

One thing that was pointed out to me some time ago was this: Doctors and Nurses work for us, not the other way around. We are the paying clients (directly or through tax). You don't like what they say, feel your recall appointment is too frequent, or you just plain don't want treatment?

Fire them.

It is your right to say No. ;o)

Betty said...

chelle.p, you're right. I figured that out quite a while ago, and I don't think my doctor's nurse liked it, much (aren't they overly protective of the doctors?), but my doctor told her that I didn't have to get on those scales if I didn't want to. So, there! :-)

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