Monday, April 2, 2012

Questions Unanswered

Although I found How Doctors Think to be a compelling read, it left me with quite a few unanswered questions. Groopman illuminates varying reasons for medical errors in the U.S. medical system and indeed suggests helpful questions doctors and patients alike should ask themselves before making and being comfortable with a diagnosis. However, how are Groopman's suggested questions supposed to solve the issue with the system? To me it seems that the primary problem is that these facilities, unless very small practices with very small patient pools, operate similar to a factory. This concept is deeply entrenched in our system. We've already discussed how capitalism has seeped into medicalization and it's especially palpable in some hospitals and doctors' offices. For example, I go to a local ENT near my home in suburban NY once every couple of months. The practice is huge with over 15-20 doctors within it. I wait over 30 minutes, sit with the doctor for no longer than 7, and come back time and time again with the same issue (muffled hearing, vertigo.) It's not that my doctor doesn't care, or that he is so concrete a thinker he is unable to adequately fix my ear problems. It's that he's so overbooked and has such a small sliver of time to give me that he cannot adequately do his job to the best of his ability. This is an issue encompassing most systems in the U.S. There are many people requiring care and this factory-like model does the job quickly, but does it do it thoroughly?

I think Groopman had a great deal of insightful information and personal edge to add to his argument, but suggestions as how to modify the medical infrastructures in our country would have made for a much more compelling argument.

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