March 23, 2009

Today's Health Care is, NOT mine.

Yesterday was another day where I can honestly say, I am not proud to work in what America calls, “Health Care”. I took care of a almost 90 year old man (his birthday is next week) whom was transported to the hospital from Hospice because they were unable to get his pain under control. This man has lung cancer and only wants to die in comfort. He knows he is terminal, he knows he has very little time and that there is no cure. He only wants to spend what little time he has in comfort and with his family, which he had a lot of. I say BRAVO!! Take all the narcotics you want and enjoy this day.

What makes me angry, is that doctors have become “Gods”. They take this man and put him on IV blood thinners (a possible clot somewhere) and then wonder why they have to give him two units of blood. From there they order a CT of his brain with IV contrast because, “He might have cancer that has metastasized to his brain“. The doctors do little to explain why they are ordering this test or even to ask if it is something that is wanted. They just order it, get upset if it’s not done and move on to the next patient. Fortunately I had time to spend with this patient and his family. We went over what the test was, how doing the test itself would affect this elderly man. How laying flat on his back on a hard metal table would affect his breathing, which was hard enough sitting up with oxygen on. We talked about how the dye would affect his struggling kidneys and heart. And in the end we talked about what they would do if the test showed he now had brain cancer. The answer of course was nothing, he only wanted pain control and that we had already achieved.

One of the family members mentioned that the doctors order things (tests, meds, etc.) and they (the patients and family) really have little to control over what is done. This is where I got on my soap box. I reminded him that doctors are there for them, not the other way around. The patient is or should be the “boss” of what and how they are taken care of.

We use the term health care, which in all reality is false advertising. We are not taught how to take care of our health. We are not taught what to eat, what (toxins, chemicals, McDonald’s etc) to stay away from . Instead we are encouraged to do as we like and then a doctor will take care of us. This brings us to the next term I have heard used a lot in the recent months, “Sick Care” which after yesterday really doesn’t fit either. If we can’t honor a mans wish to die in comfort, in his own time, we have no compassion for the sick or their care.

The term Health care is in the news everywhere you look. We worry about who should have it, how much it should cost and what it shouldn’t cover. Doctors and Pharmaceutical companies want to poison us, and the FDA only wants to give us half the story. Maybe we should consider the fact that everyone has the right to be healthy, and remember as Ben Franklin once said; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“.

I say;
Put Health, Prevention and Compassion back in Health Care and give the control back to the individuals. Make it cheaper to pay for an organic orange compared to a package of ding dongs, cover my all natural vitamins instead of toxic medications if I choose and acknowledge my treatment from my Naturopath as being better or equal to any primary care physician.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more. Health care in this country has become completely unsustainable on several levels. A friend of mine, who also works in healthcare, says it is because the medical community views death as a failure rather than as a natural part of life. That sounds about right. Fortunately, there are people (like you) who put the CARE in healthcare and treat the whole patient, not just the physical being.

  2. Excellent article! It's sad really ... we sometimes treat our animals with more compassion and concern than we treat a dying patient.

    I'm glad he had you there ... you did a good thing for him and his family!

    Small Footprints

  3. Sorry Shari, I should have linked directly to this blog entry instead of the one in Bloggersbase: :)