Briiinnggg, Briiinngg, Briiinngg Me To A Doctor

December by

I recently had a wrist surgically re-engineered. I’m wondering whether the pain and stiffness should be gone by now. I’d like to be able to ask that simple question in a phone call. But my experience is that I am going to have to actually get an appointment and get in line. Together with the shortage of doctors on BC.s Sunshine Coast where I live, part of a Canada-wide phenomenon, this small personal experience brings to mind the generally acknowledged inadequacies in our medical system.

Knowing how hard doctors and nurses work, I find myself speculating that these days fewer university entrants are likely to opt for a medical career precisely because too few are doing so. Who would not reasonably be deterred by the oft-stated example of surgeons working 70 hour weeks?

We should have a medical system that nurtures the physical and mental well-being of those who keep us healthy, bind our wounds and ease our pain. We don’t. Overwork, on one level or another, denies them that, as it would for any of us.

Why does a simple query require an office appointment? I have history with my doctor, pretty-good self-knowledge in health matters and am comfortable doing my own primary research in a world where useful data is readily available? Why do I have to take a subsidized ferry trip into Vancouver to ask my specialist a post-op follow-up question? The answer might require that, the question should not.

As a good friend pointed out to me, the ubiquity of smart phones would allow folks to take a picture of anything (well most everything) a doctor might want to look at and send it in digitally and 3-d modelling should enhance that. Seniors so far reluctant to take on the digital world would have more reason to do so, opening up for them a world of information and engagement as a counter to deterioration of intellectual function and, contributing to shrinking the generation gap.

Need a release from me to take care of liability issues? Show me the dotted line. Add another for me to agree to the digital swapping within the system of my medical records. The privacy concerns strike me as something of a straw-man, the concerns over-stated and far from applicable across the broad swath of citizens. Most everything is digitized now anyway.  I don’t see or hear a whole lot of old Underwood typewriters in today’s hospitals and doctors offices. So defenses against unauthorized access need to be devised anyway.

Meanwhile, we could do a better job at all levels of developing a population educated about how their own bodies work and what can go wrong with them. We  could start out by showing all those young athletes, graphically, just how much the visceral pleasure of knocking an opponent into next week is likely to cost them both, not to mention the medical system, further on down the line.  It occurs to me that if professional leagues want to profit from violence games they should directly help cover the cost of injury, not just to who they hire directly but for those striving and failing to be hired. They are obviously not short of money. The medical system is.

As for failing to expeditiously qualify foreign-trained immigrant doctors and nurses, that is near to criminal….at the very least immoral…..when the failure to employ those skills results in delays in getting care to those governments are responsible to. As is the failure to rapidly employ new communication technology.

I don’t want to believe that physician greed is delaying practical improvements. There’s a certain incoherence to believing this to be true true of folks immersed in matters of health.

An estimated $40 billion per year go to drug companies to treat the pain of those waiting for care. It drains our resources and energy. The pain itself diminishes the quality of life for those waiting in line and of those close to them. It diminishes their effectiveness on all levels, including the ways they contribute to or interact with the economy. It creates addiction.

And, personally, I don’t need to have been doing it for long to already be tired of damaging my innards by dealing with pain a pill at a time and quite likely generating further costs for the medical system down the line.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This