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Our Sick Society Vs. Our Sick Health Care System

Posted Oct 07 2008 7:19pm

This past summer my mother was diagnosis with Lymphoma. First its a shock and your world is shaken.  You are never ready for your parents to become sick or old.  My mother was always healthy and  rarely sick.  As my younger brother was speaking over the phone telling me my mother was in E.R. my heart sunk and felt like someone suck the life out of my body.  My brother did not know what was wrong with my mom. I called the E.R. and spoke to the resident E.R. doctor. She was very nice but did not have enough information to explain my mother's possible condition but she was admitting her to the hospital.
Let me step back a little, I have been in health care profession for over 25 years, both as a clinician and administrator in out- patient settings. I believed and still today that we have an excellent out- patient system but I have just experience how troubling our in- patient system operates.
As I was speaking with ER doctor, I was confident my mother was under very good care and I would not have to worry about her care, like some of friends have experience in our in-patient system.  The reason I felt confident I  remembered the excellent care  my grandmother and father received at this hospital in the past.
The next day as I enter into the hospital, which was under construction, the hospital staff was very friendly and people seem to actually care about the patients. One thing I do remember was the amount of people in the hospital that were sick. As I was walking down the hallway I notice  patients were just lying in bed, not moving, just lying down, I notice this thru out the day. Nobody was moving.
When I arrived on the 8th floor which was for general medicine,I ask to speak with the doctor in charge of my mom's case. I was told the doctor would speak with me after rounds.  I went back to my mother's room, unfortunately her roommate was dying. I will never forget the women's face, you could tell she was in great pain and look on her face - god please take me.  It was very sad. She had a great family support during her last 10 days.
Well I finally met my mother's physician team, which consist of a head attending resident ( 1.5 years experience), a resident, an intern, and finally a medical student. I did ask, where was the experience doctor, the answer, oh we will request a specialist or two to be on the case for a consultant.  Well that means the specialist will see my mom maybe for 5 -10 minutes a day or when needed. I was starting to worry, nothing against the team but you do need experience in these matter.
Right away the head doctor said my mother will be in the hospital for a while, she will need tests, her lymph glands in her neck, stomach and groin are swollen.  I ask right away does my mother have stomach cancer? The head doctor said yes, but not stomach, she suspects lymphoma.
As time when on the young doctors were missing diagnosing my mom's other problems and always seem to be confusion about the test results.  The specialist was even worse, he care more about the money than the health of my mother.  There was a problem with her Medicare policy, right away he wanted my family to pay $7,000 per chemo session and he was going to transfer her to city clinic. Needless to say I fired the doctor.
One day I was at the nursing station and the floor was extremely busy, I said to a nurse, boy this place is hopping! She said its getting very scare how busy the hospital has become, we definitely have a problem with our society, too many people are sick today. She also stated in the last few years its become too busy that we do not have enough professional to handle the rise of sick people.
From this experience I have realize two things; our society is sicker today and we need a better system of treating our patients.  We need to change the team approach or I should say the members of doctor team, the food needs to improve, patient's should receive healthy food, not unhealthy food, start exercising the patients who can move and do something about the air quality in the hospital. Our system is set  now to fail our patients.
We better improve our system before we add another 45 - 50 million uninsured people into the system. Right now we have a financial problem, if we add the 45 - 50 million people you will experience a health care problem but with this problem money or government will not be able to bailout this system out.  We need to change or improve our system. If the foundation is not strong, it will fall apart...at a huge price.

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