By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Over the years, the screaming banshees that hide in the catacombs and recesses of the issues that arise on this website, have been a part of social change. From the George Ruggaber / Salvation Army / homelessness issue to how SPD does business on the street, to the D.A.R.E. and Tobacco 19 programs, to changes in policies at local hospitals and high schools. Certainly the authors do not take all the credit and seek no recognition for any role or impact. Sometimes the job has to be done and you are "the person" destiny has put in place to take responsiblity for attempting change.
Under the title of “Migraines in My Colon”, over time this website will present a series of discussions and issues that are deemed worthy related to the business of medicine. Right now, the issue of health care and what kind of system we should put in place is among the foremost in the nation. It is in that discussion vein that we seek to join in because there are some important things that need to be admitted and agreed upon before we can move forward.
First of all, I do not intend to address the practice of medicine. That is a very subjective expertise which like my own, can have several interpretations and observations of the same event, proceed down different pathways toward the same result. That, plus a work history in hospitals and as a medic convinced me there is just too much unknown and subjective ‘best educated guess’ in medicine that I consider myself unwilling to opine.
In no way should that prevent the discussion of the business of medicine from going forward. After all, I am my brother’s keeper but I don’t care about his colon. All that is of interest is whether he is going to be OK. If there is no system in place to assure his health and care, then what is there in place for me.
A search of the archives of the MarkBlumReport© will reveal nearly a dozen essays on the subject of the business of medicine. Whether it be the Berger Commission or my life as a patient, I have already brought forward my own version of what I think medicine should be in a perfect world. Through these discussions hope springs eternal that in some way, doing so will ease the pain and suffering of at least one human being. According to our County Legislature and the Syracuse City Schools graduation rates, that is the gold standard.
The title “Migraines in My Colon” comes from an actual diagnosis offered by one nurse Practitioner of a condition from which I suffer. Though I kept a straight face, I told the floor nurse not to let the PA into my room again unless accompanied by a doctor. Migraines in my colon supposedly have sent me to the hospital four times now in the past couple months. The process of doing so and being a patient has given me a chance to see a world I did not know existed. The world referred to by that same banished PA, as being the world of the “civilian”.
Nothing has come to better summarize my perspective and opinion of the current state of the business and practice of medicine. I have met some of the most compassionate and loving human beings on earth. At the same time, I have also met their evil twins.
To me, medicine as a business and in the way it is currently practiced has abandoned its two most basic and fundamental principles: One, do no harm. Two, treat the patient in front of you.
The intent of these essays will be to do just that. Demand accountability for patient care and comfort as the primary and number one issue and concern for every medical service employee; from M.D. to housekeeping. When we see or experience ideas and protocols that we feel violate those two basic principles, then we will call them to attention in hopes of bringing about a change in perspective.
To reiterate how we see the world: If you are standing on a corner and are robbed, you have a socialized police force ready to come to your help. You have a socialized criminal justice system and prison system to deal with threats and wrongdoers. We do this because we realize that at any given time, any one of us could be a victim of a crime and need help. If your house is burning down, again we have a socialized fire rescue agency to come and help. Again, we do this because we all realize that any one of us could be at risk of fire and we provide this service to all for our own protection. If your child cannot read, then we have a socialized educational system because we all realize the value of an education and how it betters the nation. If we need plumbing, roads, plowing of snow, we have socialized infrastructure to help everyone because we realize that as a community we need to be able to move about. But, if you are standing on a corner and you see a fellow American drop to the ground suffering from a heart attack, all we do is stand there saying, “boy, I sure hope he has good insurance.”
People, let the healing begin.
Up next: “Hospitalists”