I had the occasion to visit with a general surgeon this afternoon. The reason why is not important. What is important is a phrase that he uttered during the course of our conversation. It appears above.
He looked at my chart, on a screen of course and made a few remarks about the general state of my health noting that the lack of a long list of prescriptions indicated I was pretty healthy. Lucky me.
I am few years older than he is and so he remarked at how I probably remember when medicine wasn’t a corporate for profit assembly line.
For the record, in my part of the state, hospitals are being bought, health care systems continue to merge and there is even a private hospital under construction in the county that won’t have an emergency room. Paying customers only I suppose.
And if you think of it as I did on my drive home it seems that there is an awful lot of medical overhead money being made way beyond those folks who actually provide care to patients.
Hospitals and health care systems advertise on tv, on radio, in print and even on vinyl bus wraps. When was the last time an ad on a bus influenced you or changed my mind about something, anything?
When did hospitals start to compete for my dollar? You had a family doctor, you needed your gall bladder or something else taken out so you went to the nearest hospital and had your procedure.
Now commercials masquerading as news stories populate the six o’ clock news blurring the lines between what’s news and what’s not news. Real news anymore whatever that is.
The worst part of all this for me is that when I visit a doctor’s office I see on the average three to four people before I see the Doctor.
Someone signs me in, someone takes my info, someone takes my pulse and blood pressure and then someone else tells me the Doctor will be right in. I end up telling my story and explaining my symptoms at least three times not including when I made my initial phone call setting up the appointment all the while hoping that I have not forgotten something or contradicted myself.
The Doc today was worried about what medicine had become and how it wasn’t what it was when he got into it and he wondered where it was going. He worried about medicine. He worried about what would become of it’s soul.