A New Understanding of Healthcare

Before taking this course, I knew generalities about healthcare but never anything too specific. I knew, mainly, that everything involving an aspect of healthcare in the U.S. was overpriced. I was hoping that this high cost of healthcare was for a reason, better equipment, better doctors, better medicines, etc. Unfortunately, as I found out, this was not the case. This course has completely changed my perspective of healthcare and has influenced my decisions of re-evaluting a profession that I thought to be flawless.  Continue reading “A New Understanding of Healthcare”

Live Long and Pay for It

After reading Live Long and Pay for it: America’s Real Long-Term Cost Crisis, I saw strong overlap from previous lecture and discussion conversation. It is absurd how much nursing homes cost but it is not surprising being that a large percentage of them are privately owned. I am surprised,however, that people are willing to pay the upwards of $70,000 a year for a nursing home when the quality of living usually doesn’t reflect the price. As seen towards the end of the article, people don’t want to confine their parents or grandparents to these homes in the first place, let alone use all of their assets to pay for them to be in there. My questions are what is the $70,000 a year being spent on if the quality of care in private homes is so poor? Is the markup on nursing home prices just due to the fact that they can charge more, like the “charge masters”in hospitals and Big Pharma? Although Medicare can be used to pay for some of the stay in these homes, 100 days according to the article, are there alternatives the government can provide for a more lasting/realistic stay?

Minority Patients in ER Less Likely to Get Painkillers for Abdominal Pain

Earlier this morning, an article was posted by Robert Preidt about how minority patients are more likely to experience racial stereotyping in the emergency room when compared to those that are white. Preidt starts the article by stating minorities are much less likely than whites to get painkillers for abdominal pain. He goes onto also stating that minorities are more likely to wait longer before being seen in the ER and less likely to be admitted to the ER when compared to white patients. Continue reading “Minority Patients in ER Less Likely to Get Painkillers for Abdominal Pain”

Investor Ownership of Nursing Homes

In a study of whether or not investor ownership of nursing homes affect quality of care, it was found that investor ownership of nursing homes does affect quality of care and, more importantly, for the worse. After reading this study, I was not surprised by what was found. The thing I was surprised about was how much worse investor owned nursing homes were in comparison to non-profit and public homes. Although this study did not prove that public and non-profit nursing homes were good to begin with, the results were extremely significant. My questions are why have restraints not been put on these “money making firms” by the government? Is it difficult to regulate how nursing homes are managed because they are considered a part of the free market system of healthcare? Are the issues with nursing homes the same in other countries? If not, are the problems avoided in other countries because they don’t pay for healthcare to begin with?

Social Death as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In Timmermans’ Social Death as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy many points were brought up that overlap what we talk about a lot in discussion and lecture. In this piece, Timmermans described how a patient’s social status/value pre-determines the effort given by those trying to revive them. Specifically, Timmermans said that, “during reviving efforts, age still remains the most outstanding characteristic of a patient’s social viability “; meaning that more effort will be put into reviving someone who is 25 compared to someone who is 95. Continue reading “Social Death as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”

The Rise of the Modern Hospital

In The Rise of the Modern Hospital, Charles Rosenberg spoke about how hospitals started  “apart of an institutional world that minimized cash transactions” to the now “monolithic and impersonal medical factory” it is today. He stated that by the 20’s, surgery had played a key role in the growth and status of hospitals, which consequently, for the consumers, brought a dramatic increase in price. However, being they were hospitals, they avoided scrutiny from the public and disciplines from a normal market system. My question is what would hospitals be like today if they weren’t held to this so called untouchable status when they were first growing in America? If the upbringing of hospitals were different could this have changed the problem we face today regarding the difference between the doctor and patient’s role? Would care be more patient centered if making money in hospitals never became the goal?

Managing Emotions

After reading “Managing Emotions in Medical Schools” and going back to what was spoken in lecture and discussion about the role of the doctor and patient, it seems that the emotions or managing of emotions “taught” in medical schools could be the reason for these two very distinct “roles”. I view a good doctor as someone who is not only a master in the field but someone who can relate and communicate personally to those who are not. This article speaks about transforming patients into basically inanimate objects so they can be studied and diagnosed easier, disregarding feelings. How can an aspiring doctor succeed in the field if they are missing the emotional aspect to curing and to medicine? How can medical students learn to be good doctors if they cannot relate to their patients emotionally? Further, has managing emotions and treating patients as inanimate in the medical setting furthered the gap between the patient and the doctor?

Discussion question: The Silent Curriculum

In lecture and discussion, we spoke about how socioeconomic status does, in fact, greatly influence health. We analyzed scenarios and watched videos on how the poorer populations in America were more susceptible to a decline in health just by where they lived or the quality of food they ate. Socioeconomic status, and furthermore diseases themselves, are sometimes, but never always, indicative of race, yet we never study why these differences occur. My question is how, as future medical professionals, can we understand and break down the differences in health among races? Will we ever know why certain races have worse health than others? If so, can we ever change that?

Media Often Overplays Cancer Drug Research

On October 29th, an article came out about the “irresponsible hype” that comes along with cancer drug research. The term irresponsible hype is used because the media that reports on cancer drug research wrongly play on desperate patients feelings’ of hope. Dr. Vinyay Prasad, an oncologist at Oregon Health and Science University, along with a team of his collegues, only looked through five-days worth of health news this past June to find approximately 100 articles regarding 36 different “ground breaking” cancer drugs. When further looking into these drugs, the team of oncologists found that 50% of these drugs weren’t FDA approved for usage on humans and 14% have never been tested on anything outside mice and cell cultures. Continue reading “Media Often Overplays Cancer Drug Research”

Process Reflection 1

Through the readings and conversations in both lecture and discussion, the apparently “flawed” US healthcare system has now become apparent to me. The biggest eye opener of this course thus far is the fact the US healthcare is revolved mostly around money, that being either how is the doctor or how is the institution being paid. When I say eye opener I should clarify; I knew that US healthcare, being a private sector, was mostly about money but after the readings and discussions I never thought it was this bad.

Continue reading “Process Reflection 1”