What is too much medicine and why is it bad?
I’ve talked about it before: Health care costs are crazy high; the cost of insurance is increasing to meet those costs; and more patients than ever are being harmed by the treatment that is supposed to help them.
The overuse of medical care is directly responsible, and increased patient (consumer) awareness is needed to help turn this trend around.
Reading The Treatment Trap: How the Overuse of Medical Care is Wrecking Your Health and What You Can Do to Prevent It by Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh would be … Continue reading
Access to your records is important
If, like me, your health care has been disrupted by new insurance coverage and the loss of your doctors and/or hospital network, it’s important that you have a hard copy of your health records.
I’ve always advised patients to keep copies of all their important health reports—x-rays, lab results, operative and pathology reports, etc.
A timeline of surgeries and hospitalizations is a good idea, too.
And it’s vital to keep an up-to-date medication list, including any frequently used over-the-counter products such as baby aspirin, ibuprofen, antacids, vitamins and herbal supplements (to name but a … Continue reading
A doctor posted this photo the other day. It’s a typical lab result slip with a twist—look closely and you’ll see a column for “cost”.
When doctors want to treat an infection, they generally get a “culture and sensitivity” first. That is, they take a sample of whatever is infected (urine, skin, blood, or other) and send it to the lab. The lab grows (“cultures”) and identifies the bacteria, and then tells the doctor which antibiotics the bacteria is “sensitive” to, that is which will kill it.
Antibiotics can be extremely expensive, especially the newest ones that can cost … Continue reading
The anatomy of a prolonged death
In 2001, author Katy Butler’s father suffered a stroke. Thus began her and her family’s long journey through our health care system detailed in Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death.
After his death, I would not rest until I understood better why the most advanced medical care on earth, which saved my father’s life at least once when he was a young man, succeeded at the end mainly in prolonging his suffering.
During vigorous rehabilitation to regain strength following the stroke, Ms. Butler’s father developed a hernia—a … Continue reading
“I need to sleep!”
As a nurse, I’ve always known that a hospital is a lousy place to be sick. Why? You can never get a decent amount of sleep! And who needs sleep more than someone who is recovering from an illness or injury?
I loved this YouTube video I ran across while reading an article about patient-centered care:
It was made by 15-year-old Morgan Gleason, who, according to the article
First…contracted meningitis while getting an infusion for an autoimmune condition. Then, hospitalized, Tuesday morning she got fed up with how she was being treated, and laid down
… Continue reading
Well, 2013 is ending and what a year it’s been in health care! I fear 2014 will deliver more confusion, cost and concerns related to health care and health insurance, but for now I’d like to end this year on a humorous note.
Like me, many of you will be old enough to remember seeing the Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life when it hit the theaters in 1983. Even though it’s 30 years old, there is a hilarious operating room scene that is still applicable today.
In it, the doctors are so obsessed with new technology, including the … Continue reading
Last week I discussed my worry that doctors would no longer have relationships with patients, but rather would plug us into pre-determined screening, diagnostic and treatment “pathways” without much regard for our personal stories.
Then I read the book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests by two ER physicians, Leana Wen, MD, and Joshua Kosowsky, MD.
And they agree “cookbook” medicine is a problem. They see it all the time in the emergency rooms.
Medicine has morphed from thoughtful engagement between doctors and patients to cookie-cutter recipes that regard all individuals alike…this cookbook
… Continue reading
“Do you know who I am?”
I’ve always been a fan of the Pulitzer-prize winning author Anna Quindlen, and last week I ran across the text from an address she gave to a roomful of doctors and medical students at the Association of American Medical Colleges in November. (Note: the full text will only be available through this link until January 31, 2014.)
A mother and DES daughter, Ms. Quindlen describes herself as “medically adept.” She has also dealt with the illness, injury and deaths of both her parents. She is an intelligent, educated, motivated health care consumer, or … Continue reading
Switching doctors will become more common
My family is one of those that has lost our current insurance plan. And in researching new plans, I’ve found that individual market plans, both on and off the health care exchange, have significantly smaller provider networks.
Our current doctors and hospitals are not “in network” for any of the new plans, so we will have to change.
I understand why the insurance companies need to do this. To keep premiums and out-of-pocket costs even remotely affordable (I still think they are way too high), more expensive doctors and medical centers have to be … Continue reading
…because health care is still sick
So the political brouhaha is over in Washington, DC (for now) and Obamacare can continue it’s rollout unchecked–except by the federal exchange’s own technical ineptitude.
But eventually the online marketplaces will be functioning as they are supposed to, and all Americans–regardless of their economic or health situations–will be able to buy affordable health insurance and have access to the best care possible.
Or will they?
Our health care system has long been described as broken, sick, on life support. Obamacare has taken the system back into surgery to try and repair some of … Continue reading