From the start of this course until now, I have learn much about the issues concerning American healthcare as well as healthcare in general. Before taking this course, I would not have thought about social economic status and the issues with end-of-life care whenever someone mentions American Healthcare. Yet these subjects are of importance and I only now know of them through taking this course. Sociology of healthcare has also enlightened me to the various issues that other Americans face in regards to our healthcare system and has made me more aware and educated of how our healthcare works, and the issues I may have to deal with later on in my life. Continue reading “Process Reflection”
In Tip-Toeing Toward Conversations About Death, the article talks about multiple health organizations attempting to “start” conversations about end-of-life treatment and what to do in those situations. Due to the general trend of most american, who tend to shy away from and avoid the topic death, end-of-life care becomes problematic for patients and their families, as they are left unprepared and not knowing what to do in the situation. Illness can appear unexpectedly and these unprepared families would not know how the patient, who could possibly be unable to respond or make decisions themselves, would want to be treated. The article states that the department of health has begun drafting a law to spread information, pamphlets on end-of-life care, in hopes to start the conversation. Other organizations, such as Harvard Vangard and Dana Farber Cancer Institute are also forming ways to help patient’s create a end-of-life plan. Continue reading “Mandatory Counseling”
In the article, Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To die at Home, the author informs us the story of Joseph Andrey, 91 year old male who on the verge of death is unable to die at home. Instead he is forced, by the healthcare system, to stay in hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes for treatment. Not only did staying in these medical facilities cost money, which were paid by medicare, the article also stated that certain facilities, such as nursing homes, were understaffed and did not give an adequate amount of attention or treatment for the patient. Some of these patients were poorly cared for, as some patients would be given inadequate amounts of food, be neglected in certain aspects such as moving and cleaning. Yet these nursing homes are rather expensive for the quality of care they receive. Continue reading “The ability to die at home”
In the New York Times article, F.D.A Targets Inaccutate Medical Tests, Citing Dangers and Costs, Robert pear, the author of the piece, speaks about the F.D.A( food and drug administration)and their current attempt to regulate medical examinations, unnecessary procedures and unreliable or unneeded drugs. Studies conducted by the F.D.A has shown that many of the medical tests done to help with diagnosing patients have been unreliable and never shown to be actually effective in doing so. The F.D.A, with the current rise in laboratory-developed treatments and test, is now attempting to increase their regulatory powers to impose possibly better standards for medical examinations, procedures, and treatments. This is to counter the cost of providing unreliable or possibly ineffective medication or treatment, as well as prevent patients from being harmed from the side-effects or possible harms which may correspond to these treatments. Continue reading “Stronger regulatory powers for the F.D.A”
In Timmermans’s Social Death as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Timmermans discusses social viability and its effect on medical professional efforts and actions when confronted with the life-or-death situation of a individual. Timmerman, in short, makes the conclusion that medical professionals place more effort into saving the life of a younger person than they would for an elderly person with the same condition. The basis of this thought is that medical professionals view that the younger person has more to live for while the elderly person has probably lived their life and have nothing left to live for. This inequality is seen in other social identifiers such as race and socioeconomic status. Those in social standings in which medical professionals deem to be less viable are then presumed dead quicker than others, with the medical professional focusing on the relatives in the situation rather than the patient himself. Continue reading “Social Viability”
From the discussion in lecture and from the reading, Managing Emotions in Medical School, there exists a common theme of medical students having little knowledge or experience in interacting with patients. This obviously becomes a problem when these students become doctors and must then be forced to do so in the professional setting. In the article, the author explains how many of these students become distant from the patient and remove emotion from their medical care. Some ways they do so is limiting or avoiding physical contact with the patient and considering the patient by his disease or illness, rather than as a human being. Continue reading “Emotions in the patient-doctor interactions”
In the New York Times article, Death Rates, Declining for decades, have flattened, Study finds, the steady increase in the life spans of Americans have slowed down, with little increase in the past few years. Due to increased research and improvement in the health and medical field, mortality rates in America have been on a continued decline while life expectancy has increase on average since the late 1900s. However, recently researchers studying the trends in life expectancy and mortality rates of Americans have noticed that, from the period 2010 to 2013, life expectancy made little improvement, with mortality rates dropping on average .4 percent annually. This statistic surprised researchers, as most expected life expectancy to continue to increase at a steady rate, not fall flat substantially. Some researchers have attributed this decline in the decreasing rate of mortality to be from obesity, which have affected Americans since 1980s. The change in the speed of improvement in mortality rates for the period 2010 to 2013 is thought to have been caused by an increase in obesity related medical problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Since obesity has been a problem since the 80s, researches hypothesize that only now is it affecting the death rates, a delayed effect. Others say that perhaps we are at the limit of which we can reduce death rates. However neither theory can be said for sure and more time is needed to distinguish the real cause of this change. Continue reading “The downward trend of mortality rates in America slowing down”
Medicalization is the process in which issues that previously did not pertain to the field of medicine become medical problems and viewed as illnesses or disorders. In Peter Conrad’s article, Medicalization and Social Control, Conrad talks about how some social factors may lead to medicalization of certain conditions as well as aspects of medicalization, such as criticisms and issues in medicalization. Social factors influence on medical treatment is also seen in the article Tall Girls, which discusses how social context influenced the application of medical treatments. In this article, the authors describe how social context lead to hormonal treatments in men and women to manipulate height. For women, these hormonal treatments were meant to reduce their height, as it was favorable in a social context for them to be shorter than their male counterparts. The opposite was applied to men.
Medicalization of certain issues are frequently subjected to the influence of social factors. My question is that if medicalization is often caused by social factors, who should decide what becomes medicalized, the general public, legislature, or medical professionals. One thing to consider with medicalization is what factors are needed to consider an issue to be of one pertaining to medicine, such as how much research connected with the issue and how much of the general population does this issue affect.
Gender is a key social factor which affects the outcomes of one’s health. From the article Understanding Gender and Health, the authors pointed out gender gap as a way to measure genders effect on life-expectances. The gender gap is essentially a comparison in life- expectancy between men and women. For many countries the gender gap is favorable to females, showing that women tend to have longer lives than men. This may be attributed to biological differences or socio-economical differences between the genders, although not enough is known to determine how much each contribute to gender gaps.
My question is whether we should consider gender gaps as a measure of a nation’s healthcare and be used as a factor in considering social policies affecting healthcare. As it seems somewhat of a worldwide trend for women to outlive males, should policies in healthcare maintain a gender gap or should they attempt to lessen the difference in life-expectancy? Essentially this question asks that, if women generally have less mortality rates than men, should the gender gap be used to determine the individual health of each gender and be a matter of social policy.
Prior to this course, my knowledge of America’s Healthcare system was limited. I would hear about the issues concerning with healthcare in the news and media, with people debating over topics such as the price of healthcare in the nation and universal health coverage without knowing too much about the background of these major issues. However, after learning in-depth of these topics in class, as well as the general ideas and history of healthcare in America, I’ve gotten a new view on the subject. The course has given me a more informative perspective, with statistics comparing our country to others. Previously, I had thought that our healthcare was more costly than that of other countries simply because it due to more efficient and extensive care. However when compared to other countries, our more expensive treatment and care was often less successful then many other countries, even those with significantly less cost. The idea that our healthcare system consumed so much yet unperformed surprised me.
Continue reading “Process Reflection”