Roger’s Rules

Annals of Medicine: the problem is not just ObamaCare

Millions of Americans — doctors and employers as well as us ordinary “consumers” — are living in trepidation of the onset of ObamaCare. Many doctors are retiring early, many employers are scrambling to devise ways of of opting out of the system, and individuals are writing their Congressmen and worry about the future of their medical care.

These are not irrational actions. ObamaCare will make health care more cumbersome, more expensive, and guarantee a lower standard of medical care. It’s the Democrat way: take something that works, inject a huge amount of government regulation and control, stand back and admire the resulting monstrosity and christen it “progress.”

As long as enough money can be funneled into the process, there will be people who will applaud the result — alternating the clapping of their hands with the extension of that same appendage to latch on the some of the circulating lucre.

Bad though ObamaCare is, however  — and for anyone who needs a refresher course, let me recommend my friend Sally Pipes’s Broadside on the subject, The Cure for Obamacare — it is well to remember that ObamaCare is not the only thing wrong with American medicine.  Alas, it was possible to shove ObamaCare down the throats of the American people only because the delivery of medical care in this country had already been so heavily bureaucratized. The ordeal recounted by a friend illustrates the problem.

This friend, who is himself an eminent physician, had a battery of medical problems this past year.  Among other things, he had knee replacement surgery. He also developed a melanoma, a particularly dangerous form of skin cancer, on the back of one of his legs. He had the cancer removed, and, though he took a nasty fall at one point,  all seemed well.

But then he developed a severe pain in his groin. Had the melanoma returned or spread? Five doctors and as many MRIs later, the answer seemed to be No. No cancer. Yet the pain persisted. It ruined his summer vacation.  Finally, he went to a pain clinic and had a nerve block injection. That provided some relief, but it soon wore off.  What to do?

My friend’s son is an Emergency Room doctor and an accomplished athlete (he participates in Iron Man Triathalons and the like). He recommended a family doctor he knew who had some sports medicine experience. He is, my friend reported,

one of the rare doctors who still works by himself, takes his own phone calls and admits his own patients to hospital. . . .  He does not have any electronic medical records. . . .  He was the first doctor who sat there and listened to my WHOLE STORY before he said anything.  Before he examined me he said “I am pretty sure I know what is going on.”  When he got down to my groin he put me finger in the spot that hurts and I went through the roof.  He said. “I am 99.9% sure I know what is going on.”  It was 3 pm on a Friday and he picked up the phone and asked to speak to a radiologist.  Seemed like most of them were gone so he had to wait awhile.  I then heard him tell radiologist that I was a doctor and father of a doctor and he would like an MRI DONE NOW.   The radiologist said to come right over and he would try to get it done.  Went to hospital, signed in, took my sedative and then was told to come back tomorrow for the procedure. . . . My whole point in this long diatribe is that the only doctor who acted like a doctor was the one has refused to part of the new healthcare, acts like your personal doctor, listens to your story, and then made a  forceful phone call to get something done.

Turns out the family doctor was right. The problem was a tear in the labrum, the lining of the hip joint.  No one else suspected it. No other scan picked it up because no scan of that area was ordered. Moral: “The lowly family doctor who bothered to take a history and do a physical made the diagnosis.” Keep it in mind the next time you visit your doctor, behold the battalions of administrative worker bees populating his office, and wonder why you are treated like widget number 726 in the long production line of his customers.