NYT 4/26/20 – most, many Americans are far from a hospital. So what? In the time of corona you can likely survive more than 30 minutes to get to a hospital.
What’s missing? What the news fails to report, because they don’t know? The quality of the care. All hospitals are not equal i.e. a hospital is a hospital. No! No, no, no. Many, perhaps most, are not of good quality. You get the idea that nursing homes are death traps? Yup, hospitals suffer the same lament. Care is not equal. Yes, even among doctors, all is not equal. There are some good and some not quite up to snuff. Most of the brilliant minds are at the major med centers. You do the math. Yes, I, too, live in a relative rural area. I fear for the local health care should I ever be in dire need. Things are not equal. And, you can’t just show up at the best place without a connection. Thirty minutes? … from care of any sort, or from real quality care? Once upon a time, when I was a lay person… I thought a hospital was a hospital. Wrong.
As a retired physician I watched the Democratic debate a few nights ago with interest when each candidate roundly assailed the drug companies who manufactured opioids, calling them out for their role in the epidemic of drug related opioid addictions and deaths. There is a missing link in the targeted villains.
Indeed, we are again following the money. The drug companies profit by the billions of dollars, so indeed, they should be a righteous target to “pay” for this disaster. However, the drug companies do not and cannot just hand out the opioids. It requires a prescription from a Physician, an MD. There are regulations. It is not so simple to just hand over a prescription. There is paperwork and justification and there are monitoring systems already in place to track those same prescriptions. Yet, it is not that hard to procure an opioid prescription. And there’s money to be made!
I understand the reluctance of a patient to blame their own beloved family MD. After all, one could never blame someone in whom you place your very life and whose oath is to “do no harm.” But, we bear responsibility. And MD’s are the choke point. Brevity prevents me from more extensive comment. Suffice to say, that MD’s have contributed to the drug crisis. We are legally empowered to continue to prescribe, or, we can be the ones to stop the madness. Until then, the number of drug deaths will continue just like gun violence and the prescription pad is like an AR 15 in the hands of your MD. Caveat emptor.