By Clyde Davis
I have no opinion on comprehensive health care, or at least none that is justifiable and validated by evidence. What I suppose I can see, as a consumer, and you are one as well, is that health care in our country is part of a broken system, and if no one entity is to blame, that doesn’t mean we all should not work together to fix it.
Case in point: My wife’s experience with a thyroid specialist in Lubbock, who would not reopen her case, since she had not had seen him for three years. It made me wonder, in all honesty, where the human element of loyalty lies in this, since when she was needing to see him regularly, we dumped a ton of out-of-pocket money into his practice. Apparently, patients, even paying ones, are commodities, not humans, in the mind of this physician.
Not true of all doctors, by any means. Our GP is a very committed man. I’m also familiar with the other side of the coin, as borne witness by my friend Stevie, who as an optometrist, has to pay $200,000 in malpractice insurance, and who has had to cut into his practice of caring for Medicaid patients because payments for the source were frequently late and sometimes nonexistent.
But when something is broke, it doesn’t need to be any one person’s particular fault, nor any one person’s responsibility to fix it. Looking to the government, looking to the insurance companies, looking to the medical professions, looking to the patients all end in a dead end, and lead to a non-productive cycle of blame. Unless everyone is willing to step forward to do what they can, a fix will not occur.
Am I still enraged at the refusal of the thyroid doc in Lubbock to see my wife? You bet. When your spouse is involved, one of the people you are supposed to protect, and the system is set so that, rage as you might, you can’t do anything about it, you might explode, or do a slow burn, or both. None of these will force a doctor who doesn’t care about patients to change his or her approach.
What is seen, as the longer term vision, is a reform of the system, something we have learned as we’ve dealt with medical issues. Of course there are other thyroid specialists, and we will find one. He will probably be better, and certainly more humane. But the experience serves as another signpost, pointing to a system that needs to be fixed.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org