Wednesday, October 27, 2004

 

Keep This Up and There Will Be No More Doctors

This is very dangerous. First of all this is simple rationing of care by the government. Second, fine doctors for giving flu vaccines (or any other treatment considered standard of care) and watch all the pre-med students quickly turn to pre-law, engineering, MBA school and dental school. Not that any of those are a step down from medical school but we can't afford to have a significant decrease in the number of doctors in this country. Most rural parts of this country are severely underserved by doctors already.
Medicine is an art. We don't understand more than we understand. That is where judgment comes in. A list of approved situations in which a doctor can provide a specific treatment completely misses the goal of treating each patient individually, based on his or her own health, social needs and future. It is simply impossible to specifically delineate all situations in which each and every treatment is appropriate. As physicians, we try to use reason, judgment and past experiences to treat each patient. As soon as limits are put on the treatments we can provide, the quality of care decreases. I'm sure at some point in the recent past you have all run into your insurance company not approving a certain medicine or procedure. Continuing with the treatment prescribed by your doctor could cost you thousands of dollars. Most of us simply go with the treatment which may cause more side effects, takes longer or is more painful. In the end however, you do have the right to pay for any treatment your doctor prescribes - until now. The lesson is that if the government becomes too involved in the delivery or rationing of healthcare, everybody will loose.

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