HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA

Here's the thing: I want my doctor to be rich as hell.

I hope she makes an obscene amount of money, drives a Rolls and only works 40 weeks a year.

Why?

Because I want her to take a lot of time with each patient. Because I want her to have the best malpractice insurance money can buy so she doesn't have to waste healing energy worrying about whether a judgement call is going to cost her her livelihood. Because I don't want her to schedule 20 patients for 8:00 am, line them all up in waiting rooms, and assembly line their treatment hoping to get through enough of them before lunch to pay her bills.

Because I want her to call me up at home to see how I'm doing after a procedure. Because I want her to be deliriously happy that she chose to become a doctor. Because she went to medical school for four years and then suffered for another three at the hands of some attending martinet who thought making her life miserable was something she would thank him for later. Because pimply-faced geeks sitting in dark rooms in Silicon Valley rake in millions using skills they struggled for minutes to learn in the service of giving us more efficient ways to buy Beanie Babies over the Internet, while my doctor has her hands inside a patient's chest trying to coax a few more years of life out of a body on the verge of giving up.

So she can call up a trusted colleague to verify that her reading of your x-ray is correct. So she can order up an expensive CAT scan for no other reason than she's got a nagging hunch based on something she saw in med school and which no HMO bureaucrat would approve if she were chained to his company's "managed care" plan. So she doesn't have to grit her teeth every time a complex case walks through the door because she doesn't have the luxury to take the required time. So she can smile gleefully every time a complex case walks through the door because she'll have a chance to stretch her skills by working on an interesting challenge. So she can spend more time trying to help her patients stay well so she doesn't have to spend more time getting them better.

Because I don't want her to worry about the electrical bill, I want her to worry about me. Because anybody who practices the healing arts damned well ought to be rich.

Because I want her to want to be a doctor, and not resent the decision.


from: A Practical Guide for Everyday Living, by Lee Gruenfeld
* Copyright 1997, 1998 by Steeplechase Run, Inc. - All Rights Reserved

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