Reflecting on the Semester

At the beginning of the semester, I was not very excited to be taking a sociology class, to be completely honest. For starters, I wasn’t completely sure what sociology was. The study of society just did not seem appealing to me, and it definitely didn’t seem like something I wanted to spend time learning about. Many upperclassmen scared me off from taking sociology 101 because they told me it was very mundane and even boring, especially if taken right after psychology 101. Their warnings are what brought me to this class, the sociology of healthcare. I was cautious at first, expecting class to be tedious.

However, I quickly learned that although maybe sociology isn’t the most riveting subject for some people, it is fascinating to me.    Continue reading “Reflecting on the Semester”

The Role of Doctor’s in End of Life Care

The New York Times article “Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To Die at Home” is a heartbreaking story about Ms. Stefanides and her dying father’s fight with a healthcare system that seems a little inept in end of life care. Ms. Stefanides could not afford to pay out of pocket home health care costs and although her father was more than qualified for insurance, the health care system could not grant Mr. Andrey’s wish to die at home. Ms. Stefanides knew firsthand about the horrible conditions some nursing homes could be, having already experienced the emotional trauma with her mother. Unfortunately, with the healthcare system we have today, Mr. Audrey’s choices for end of life care were very slim. His doctor’s pushed Ms. Stefanides to disregard his wish to die at home.

This makes me wonder if there should be more regulated rules about a doctor’s role in end of life care. Is it not a human right to decide where and how you want to spend the last day, months or even years of your life? Or should doctors have a final say in what they believe is best for the patient?

Is the only solution more money?

In theory, elderly people being placed in a nursing home seems like a fantastic solution for those who need extra care in their old age. It is a place grandparents and great grandparents can go to receive quality care. It can relieve stress felt by families because they are able to know for sure that their loved ones are not in a dangerous situation such as living by themselves could be. However, in practice nursing homes are not nearly as warm and inviting and they are imagined. In fact, as Weitz points out in Chapter 10, nursing homes are not a good solution at all. In fact 90% of nursing homes have been cited for health and safety regulations. Since the reality of nursing homes is so bleak, it makes me wonder what is being done to fix them. Is there a good solution while keeping the financing of nursing homes low? Or do we have to invest more money in elderly care in order to improve treatment?

Social Media’s Role in Healthcare

After learning about the history of health care and a little bit of why the health care system is the way it is today, the title “Social Media For Health Care, Who’s Doing It Right” on Forbes.com immediately grabbed my attention. Social media, while it is such a major part of everyday life today, is a relatively new aspect of society. For the first time companies can reach out to customers in ways that previously would have been impossible. The internet has undeniably changed the way people learn and access information. These days information about healthcare is at everyone’s fingertips. Continue reading “Social Media’s Role in Healthcare”

A Person Is Not Their Disease

In class and in the readings we have discussed the role of emotion in medicine, particularly the impact that emotions have on a doctor’s role and care. Starting as early as the premed years, young aspiring doctors begin to learn emotional management strategies. An important point made is that the most popular approach to emotion by current doctors and medical students is to not have emotions at all. It seems as though popular opinion is desensitization and removing oneself from the emotional implications of the situation.       Continue reading “A Person Is Not Their Disease”

Is America Actively Diminishing Access to Healthcare?

During the summer of 2015, controversy about Planned Parenthood took over the media. It stemmed from the Center of Medical Progress releasing “selectively edited videos” of PP staff members discussing a fetal tissue donation program. Anti-abortion advocates immediately started accusing the company of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue (which is illegal and morally questionable). Public outrage built as people took to social media and spread the accusations. Continue reading “Is America Actively Diminishing Access to Healthcare?”

Is over-medicalization the price to pay for a sound state of mind?

In class we discussed how a diagnosis makes a person feel better. Even if the physical reality of one’s life hasn’t changed, a diagnosis provides much needed validation and a sense of peace. People want to know there is a name to their signs and symptoms and it’s not just them being overdramatic. This has caused many new “diseases” to become medicalized recently, even if at first they may seem a little strange. Superficially, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Why not medicalize many things if this gives people a sense of relief and diminishes stress, even if only slightly? However, I begin to wonder what the implications this would have on society. If there is a name or diagnosis for everything, is there ever truly a “norm”? In all probability almost everyone in the world would have something “strange” about them that could qualify for a diagnosis (even if it’s something like day time sleepiness). If everyone has some “problem” with them is there anything we can consider as normal?

Is Redistribution of Goods Practical in America?

In the paper, Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Health Inequalities: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications, the authors explain the theory of fundamental causes. A major part of this theory is that the lack of resources available to lower socioeconomic groups lead to poorer health outcomes. It makes sense then, that by redistributing resources in such a way that all socioeconomic groups have access to them would minimize the effects of diseases and lead to an overall better health care system and healthier nation. Yet, no where in the paper does it propose ways for these resources to be distributed equally. Continue reading “Is Redistribution of Goods Practical in America?”

With Great Knowledge Comes Great Sorrow

When I came into class that very first day I was coming in with little to no knowledge of how health care in America worked, let alone how it compared to the rest of the world. I was under the general impression that health care in the United States was bad but I couldn’t honestly say I had my own opinion.  I took the class not only because I plan to enter the medical profession but because I finally wanted to understand how health care operated. Continue reading “With Great Knowledge Comes Great Sorrow”

The Truth Behind Health Care Accessibility for Veterans

During the second Republican debate that took place on September 16th, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina claimed that 307,000 veterans “have died waiting for health care”. Besides Fiorina, many others, such as CNN have reported the same number. Viewers of the debate were shocked at the claim and doubted the accuracy of Fiorina’s statement. In particular, readers of The Washington Post asked the newspaper to write about the claim in their Fact-Checker article.

Writer Michelle Ye Hee Lee found that Fiorina’s claim is “rooted in misconstrued reports by reputable news outlets”. When the VA was investigated it was found that with over 22 million records, the system is not efficient in processing health care enrollments. The statistic in Fiorina’s claim comes from the fact that many of the records in the VA system (about 867,000) have a “pending” status, meaning that someone had applied for enrollment, but the VA had not yet found them eligible for benefits. Of the records in pending about 307,000 were for people “reported as deceased”. Continue reading “The Truth Behind Health Care Accessibility for Veterans”