Medicine and Sustainability

Two important stories that will make sense to all of you, but specifically to those “I wanna be a doctor” folks among us.  As you’ll learn in the California story, doctors get paid by the task — office visit, exam, surgery, etc.  This is not sustainable given where health care may be headed; it’s certainly not beneficial to the consumer.   Also as you’ll hear, given the cost of medical school and the loans MD’s have to pay back after graduation, specialization in the system drives doctors away from where they are indeed needed — primary care.

In California, Facing Down a Family Physician Shortage

In another story that shows us how wonderful we are, this is concerns Global Health.  In fact, this link will take you to several stories concerning Global Health — cholera perhaps spreading to the DR and Miami, organ trafficking, and a global food crisis.

As you ponder your last “mini” essays, think about some of these challenges.

2 thoughts on “Medicine and Sustainability

  1. Liam Mulhern

    The American health care system is deeply flawed. As Cooper said providing health care has become a money making venture for many doctors. A shift in this mind set will take a massive cultural shift in the way we determine success. In my mind I know that when I hear about doctors in prestigious fields like brain or heart surgery I automatically assume that they are the best and brightest and are doing the most they can do to help save the lives of American. Often these doctors encounter patients who have neglected their health out of a lack of availability and now are turning to expensive surgeries to save them when their problems could have been prevented easier had they had access to primary care. The need for american doctors to pay back expensive student loans is a hard one to ignore when they face career decisions, and with the rising costs of college tuition it doesn’t seem like this problem will be gone from the American process anytime soon. One of the interesting things I read about last year during the health care debate was that the US, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, is number 37 on the WHO list top health care systems. France is number one even though, on average, French doctors make half of what American doctors make. In France they subsidize the education of their doctors and pay for 2/3 of their social security payments. With progressive government intervention like this and a strong universal health care system it is no wonder they are more able to serve their countries health care needs. While the France example does have it’s flaws it will take strong movement in that direction if the US hopes to promote the field of primary care amongst it’s aspiring doctors.

  2. Cooper Kersey

    The video about UC Davis outlines one of the major problems with our health care system. Since doctors are payed by the quantity of services they provide instead of the quality, they merely need to do the most procedures and examinations possible in order to get a huge paycheck. However this leads to subpar care from doctors because they are so focused on cranking out the procedures that they make more mistakes. Doctors should be evaluated based on quality of care (patient recovery rate, success of procedures) in order to ensure that the patients get the best care possible.

    The lack of primary care doctors backs up the claim of my third essay that many doctors only become doctors in order for their own personal financial benefit. Doctors are drawn towards specialty fields because that is where the money is, creating a shortage of primary care and family doctors.

    As far as the spreading of diseases, it shows that we can’t ignore the problems of impoverished nations like Haiti because we can’t expect their problems to remain isolated from us in the United States. Disease can easily spread across continents and even cross oceans so if we don’t help prevent these diseases in countries like Haiti they may eventually come back to haunt us.

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