Hope for Our Nation? (Process Reflection)

As I look back on this semester, my thoughts toward our health care system have changed. To be honest, I enrolled in this class because I needed an elective for my public health minor. I did not have any expectations coming into this course as I thought it would be just like my previous healthcare course I took in Sargent. At the end of the day, I learned so much from this class and I hope to use this knowledge and understanding as I pursue my career in the health care industry. Continue reading “Hope for Our Nation? (Process Reflection)”

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”

Final Thoughts of the Course

As we finish off this course, I realized I have developed a new perspective and outlook on the entire medical system of the U.S.. Having grown up in another country for most of my life, I have always known my own country’s medical system (Taiwan) and thought everything should be like that as it would make things much easier. I also thought in a more than naive way that the U.S. would have a similar system. This course helped me shine a light on what is wrong with the entire medical system of the U.S., but also gave me hope for what little hope there is left. It allowed some thoughts of reform and of change, which provided a rather bleak life with a sort of hopeful outlook. Even as we ended the class talking about end of life care, we managed to squeeze in some happy notes by explaining what we could be doing instead of what we are doing now. In that sense, I don’t see this class as teaching new material as a typical class does, but rather provoking conversations and viewing the world from an outsider view. Instead of teaching the basics, we learned to question the society we live in and what can we do as individuals to improve it. After all, we are going to be future doctors which will have a major impact on the medical field. If we can bring what we learned in this class to our future careers, maybe we really can bring change to the medical field and possibly reform it completely.

In terms of actual teaching, I think Dr. Guseva did a great job explaining many of the past concepts in lecture. She brought her own point of view as well as explained the current trends, and allowed us to think about what we should do to contribute, such as conversations about death. I think discussions were helpful as well, but I would’ve preferred if they went a little faster or more in depth into the lectures that we went over in class. We usually went over the readings which were helpful, but were something we really could’ve done in our own time.

To bring it all into context with what we have been learning about for the past few weeks, I think we really should bring all of what we learned into context to be change, however slight, in the world and change perspectives of how we view healthcare, illnesses, and death. What is rather stigmatizing to think about should not be so, and should be more talked about as the more we stigmatize them, the less we treat people with these certain conditions. This course really has brought a lot of new thoughts to my mind about healthcare and I’m glad I took this course to discuss these thoughts!

Final Process Reflection

Sociology of Healthcare has opened my eyes to the many multifaceted  problems within the healthcare system, especially in the United States. As a developed country, one would expect the best quality care and equality for all its citizens. This is clearly not the case. Our current system has been  and is continually hesitant to change.

Traditional medicine and practices are not always the answer to good care. Some major takeaways from this class are equity and access to care and the importance of a universal healthcare system. There are large disparities in health among racial and ethnic minorities. These disparities create major spikes in healthcare costs and promote a continual decline in health that impacts the overall health of the United States. There are more problems to consider such as doctors and feeling, and how it affects the patient and health outcomes. The lack of feeling and emotion in healthcare overlooks patient needs. This leads to a poor experience and in some cases poorer health outcomes. If doctors would take the time to get to know their patients, they would be better able to address their problems (some that may not be easily identified in a healthcare setting).

In the end, it is crucial for the individual to be the focus in healthcare. At the end of the day, we are caring for people not human bodies. Access to quality care is a must to promote healthy lives at all stages of life.

Hospice Care

In the Documentary we watched today in class, it was mentioned that medical students should spend time on a hospice rotation before beginning their profession in medical practice. After everything we have learned throughout the semester about physician-patient relationships, and patient-centered care, and things of that nature, and now learning from the video the morals behind hospice care, it almost seems necessary to me for students to have a rotation at some point in a hospice facility. It teaches young doctors and soon to be doctors how to build relationships with the people they are treating, so that they do not lose their identity and become identified by their disease like patients so often do. Continue reading “Hospice Care”

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?

Empathy Over Quality?

In the article, “The Patient in the Intensive Care Unit,” Robert Zussman states that patients who are place in the ICU end up losing their individual characteristics and becoming only a set of symptoms and numbers. Zussman seems to be blaming the doctors who work in the ICU for being less empathetic towards these patients. I believe that if doctors are being less empathetic is is merely because of the time sensitiveness of the cases that usually bring a patient to an ICU. With this said, do patients and their families value a doctors empathy over their quality of care? Has the view of health care altered in a way that a nice caring doctor is valued more then one who can perform much better? and is it fair to judge these doctors who are simply trying to save lives?

Do physicians reserve the right to refuse continuation of treatment?

It is noted in “Watching Brian Die” that conflict between the physician and family often arise when the former sees no benefit, or even trauma/harm, in continuing aggressive treatment, but the latter supports its continuation. If said physician feels morally compromised by this, is he warranted to refuse continuation of the treatment and request being replaced by a different caretaker? If no other physician is available or none feel comfortable taking over said treatment, should the initial physician or caretaking organization be liable for death of the patient?

Clueless (*As IF*)

Many Doctors Unaware of Truvada, Drug for Preventing H.I.V.

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.


Kudos to you if you actually got the reference I was making in the title.

But in all seriousness, this article frustrates me a lot. One of my good friends from high school is a campus advocate for Truvada (a.k.a. “PrEP”, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) at NYU and I can already imagine how upset the information in this article would make him.

Continue reading “Clueless (*As IF*)”

Rise in Early Cervical Cancer Detection Is Linked to Affordable Care Act

Earlier in the semester we watched a documentary about how health care coverage varied based on age. The highest rate of uninsured Americans were between the ages of 18 to 25. Most were unable to afford healthcare because they didn’t have access to employer-based health plan and were not covered by their parents’ health insurance. Health and finances of young Americans were at risk. In 2010, the provision of the Affordable Care Act allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. The number of uninsured adults in this age group declined significantly.

Continue reading “Rise in Early Cervical Cancer Detection Is Linked to Affordable Care Act”