My Love-Hate Relationship With Healthcare

As a seasoned clinical respiratory therapist and clinical manager with an advanced degree in health care management, I have developed a love-hate relationship with allopathic medicine.

The Bright Side

I love the advanced technologies and medical interventions that can change and literally save lives.  Many times, I have been part of an emergent health care team employing such advanced technologies and medical interventions in various life-threatening situations.  I have witnessed seemingly miraculous recoveries—people virtually coming back to life when none of us thought it possible, or at the very least, probable.

Years ago, I participated in the mechanical ventilation of a patient, who for several weeks had been virtually on the verge of death—showing no signs of cognitive function, which was confirmed by multiple unpromising EEGs suggesting irreversible brain damage.  Then (and this is not typical), when all hope was gone and everyone knew it was way past time to pull the plug, a glimmer of consciousness appeared.  Slowly, day by day, we watched his life return.  First, his eyes began to make contact with ours.  After a week or so, his eyes began to follow us as we walked about the room.  Within a couple of weeks his eyes began to respond to our questions.  Then his head began to move, and one day, he mumbled a few words.  Soon he was talking.  Eventually, he walked out the door.

A few years before that I participated in the nearly hour-long CPR of a 12 year-old girl, whom, it was believed, had an allergic reaction to anesthesia.  After exhausting every possible option without results, her condition continued to deteriorate until her heart simply would not beat at all, not even erratically.  At last, we were mere seconds away from giving up; the discussion to cease our efforts had already begun, when suddenly her heart began to beat with a regular rhythm.  She has since grown into a beautiful young lady.

More than twenty years ago, I managed the ventilation of a middle-aged man ravaged by disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC); it was to a degree that none of us had ever seen, consuming every limb and much of his torso.  We all knew he could not survive.  Days turned into weeks and somehow he was still hanging on.  Then he started getting better, the DIC reversing.  But after several days of promise he suddenly took another turn for the worse.  Again the DIC started to spread, though not as extensively as it had the first time.  Once again his condition looked dire; and then, after several days, the DIC began to reverse again.  He was eventually discharged, minus one leg.  I watched him hobble to the car on his new crutches.

Many medical procedures and medications are all but miraculous; and, as one who administers some of these services, it is an honor to be part of them.  I love that part of medicine.  I also love the genuine compassion and personal sacrifice on the part of the caregivers.  Most doctors, nurses and therapists of various disciplines, enter the medical field with a true desire to help, to make a difference in society.  Through the years, I have watched many of them weep (I have wept) when faced with the realization that nothing more could be done for their patient, and death was imminent.

I have heard physicians chastise uninsured patients for neglecting their office visit simply because they had no money to pay for the service.  They would assure the patient that their health was more important than the ability to pay.  I knew one physician who paid the cable bills for several of his nursing home patients because they could not afford it themselves.  I love that part of medicine, the human part, the empathy, the concern, the desire to make a difference.

The Dark Side

But there is also a part of medicine that I hate.  It is the dark side.  It is ever before us but seldom discussed; and it runs deeper, far deeper, than the benevolent bright side.  It is the white collar criminal element, endemic, even intrinsic to the system.  Without this element the current system (even under the Affordable Care Act) would simply implode.

I hate the misinformation, the widespread misallocation of resources and the fraud upon which the system is structured.  But this is only one aspect of this convoluted system, for it is broken at virtually every level.  In the following pages I attempt to peel back these layers and expose this system for what it is.  Some harsh things are said about the system, and consequently, about physicians; but I want the reader to understand this is not so much a condemnation of physicians as it is of the system of which they (and all of us really) have necessarily become a part.

As for the hint of sarcasm and cynicism strewn across these pages, it is not without cause.  From both a professional and a personal vantage point, through the years I have developed a very healthy sense of skepticism toward the dogma of allopathic medicine (western medicine).  For both your personal wellbeing and your financial stability, I would advise you to do the same.  Barring a relatively few and some nearly miraculous procedures, the majority of services provided by allopathic medicine are anything but honorable, or even necessary for that matter.  Not that particular services or procedures are themselves without value, but their superfluous and careless use, whereby they are employed without sufficient cause are, indeed, without value.  Not only does this create additional expenditures, it fills the patient with false hope and misinformation.

Having carefully considered the many troublesome layers to America’s health care system, I believe I have the answer to this dilemma.  The solution does not reshape the system but replaces it all together.  And I do mean altogether, the clinical as well as the fiscal elements.  However, I truly doubt those legislators with the power to fix this debacle seriously want to know the cure.  The cure is not a matter of resources but a matter of clinical reform—a reform that must initiated via legislation. It would be controversial legislation for it would affect one of Capitol Hill’s greatest lobbying groups: the pharmaceutical industry and its plethora of dealers—AKA, medical doctors.  Therefore, I suspect the cure is not welcome.

Furthermore, this work indicts the American medical establishment for its conscious and unethical neglect of promoting health; and, even worse, for actively engaging in the destruction of the same, by ignoring and even opposing proven natural therapies while promoting useless, yet profitable, medications that it might advance its own self-serving agenda of self-preservation.  Although many physicians at the clinical level might be excused for unwittingly disseminating misinformation, the medical establishment which knowingly advances this misinformation cannot; and be not deceived, this medical establishment is a very real and elite society of powerful movers and shakers within, or closely tied to, the pharmaceutical industry, which is the driving force behind our health care system.

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