Patrick Wagner: Treatment plan needed for ill health-care system
When Einstein crushed the atom, we were interested in the energy released from it. So was Hitler. We beat Hitler to the punch. Einstein was a good man, and his discovery stopped a war. How foolish and destructive it was of demons in those days of World War II to try to kill the world, to conquer free people?
Look around. We are in the most amazing country on earth, simply because we’re free. Isn’t it appalling to be acting like spoiled brats, covetous and angry and frustrated and heartbroken? Why entertain war in such a wonderful and beautiful place to live, raise a family and grow old? Just look at what we are missing out on, simply because of “war within.”
To learn how to be a doctor and to experience being a doctor is enchanting. My hero as a young lad was Dr. Kildare. Now with the Internet and YouTube, it’s easy to visit those days. They were days of peace and calmness in medicine. People weren’t confused, insecure, or fearful. Was Dr. Kildare the real deal? It sure was, and more! I know. I lived my dream.
To experience the destruction of a very, very intimate and loving friendship, that between myself and my patients, is heartbreaking beyond description. That same heartbreak is manifest in the loss of my friends, the doctors and nurses who I called on and who called on me to heal you. That same heartbreak is felt for the youngsters aspiring to be doctors and nurses, who are not being adequately prepared to practice medicine and experience an enchanting career in medicine. That heartbreak is for you, my fellow Americans, who go to the doctor now and find a system that doesn’t make you feel good. I’m sorely saddened by that most of all, because inherent in that scenario is undue suffering and avoidable death because of greed and malicious negligence of those now in control of medicine. As my teacher of surgery, F. William Blaisdell, MD, told me years ago, those are the mistakes in surgery that left scars on his cerebral cortex.
The solution to our “war within” is to lay it bare to each other. The truth is that doctors and patients aren’t the problem, they are the victims. Do we not all fear speaking out?
To properly care for a patient requires a good history of the present illness, a thorough physical examination, and any supporting lab or X-ray investigation in order to clinch the diagnosis. Then the fun part comes; the treatment recommendations that ultimately, upon performing these steps, stops the suffering. The same can be said for a “health care” system.
For a doctor to make a diagnosis, his patient must be laid bare. That’s the secret of being a good doctor; nothing held back! Then, and only then, does he act, after an honest and informed consent.
You and I are now called upon to be doctors of our critically ill health-care system. That will require consultation with each other to find out our symptoms and signs, and to formulate a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
We all have within ourselves the desire to get better. We need to experience that energy, that healing. But to do so, we’ve got to make a decision. We’ve got to decide to stop being discouraged and to start being courageous. We’ve got to lay it bare!
Patrick Wagner, MD, lives in Nevada City.
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