Marital Status, Faulty Surveys, and The Implications of Social Supports on Individual Recovery

“Marriage May Bolster Recovery from Surgery”

As suggested by the article written by Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times, one’s marriage status may increase one’s likelihood to recover from serious surgery. Such a statement takes support from a study conducted by JAMA Surgery, a monthly medical journal published by the AMA, which included approximately 1,567 individuals who had cardiac operations and ranged between 50 and older. Of the 1,567 research participants 1,026 individuals were married, 184 were divorced or separated, 331 were widowed, and 35 were never married.  Information regarding their need for aid in six specific ways prior to the surgeries was first recorded, and then compared to similar data collected two years after the operations. The six activities included rising from bed, walking, bathing, dressing, and consuming food. The results showed that roughly 20% of married individuals pass on or increase in dependency, whereas 28.8% and 33.8% of divorced/separated and widowed individuals showed similar outcomes, respectively, even after factors like personal habits were controlled for. The survey is praised for the implications it poses on social supports on patient health outcomes.

While the studies does shine light on the importance of support systems for patients, researchers limit themselves by the use of labels like “marriage,” “never married, etc. Marriage does not necessarily equate to the reciprocation of care and comfort, as individuals may fall out of love while holding such a status, compelling them to perhaps despise and or cheat on their partner. In addition, marriage is sometimes used as a tool to gain individual benefits between two parties, and in such cases may not entitle one to receive such personal care from their partner. In contrast, individuals who have never married may receive care and comfort more so than those of married couples. Non-marriage does in no way characterize the lack of social support. For example, the LGBT community has spent many years fighting for the status of marriage, and has very recently made profound advancements in its goals nationwide. Many of this community, while not legally married, upheld relationships or familial units similar to society’s ideal conceptions of married units, displaying that support can be received outside the confines of “marriage.” Also, the inclination to pursue the institution of marriage has waned amongst the younger generations over the years, regardless of their sexual preference, thus increasing the likelihood of long-term couples with supporting partners that may not fall into the categories established in the study described above. The result of non-married individuals are not even included within the results reported by the article, providing an inaccurate view on the social implications of the study. Factors such as whether individuals remained in hospital care or were discharge home were not mentioned either, or whom played a primary role in patient recovery care.

Diversity in Med School Students

According to a recent study, the number of African American students applying to medical school has been decreasing within the last 40 years. This has become a concern for not only the African American community, but also the health care field. Why is it important that medical schools stress diversity of all races? What could be an explanation for the decline of African American students who apply to medical school? How could medical schools encourage more African American students to apply to medical school?

Diversifying Medical School?!

In the article A Silent Curriculum, Brooks states “As soon as racism was mentioned, conversations fizzled, highlighting the palpable discomfort in the room. These attempts to address race may be reflective of a community eager to understand these issues.” Brooks is stating that racism is an uncomfortable subject for future doctors yet the subject of race is continually sought for further understanding. Reading this quote made me think of a classroom that was predominately white with little minority representation.

If the problem is having more “relatable” medical students to be future doctors, shouldn’t the solution be to diversify medical schools by ensuring minority groups with the same opportunities as their white counterparts?

You Got Me Feeling Emotions…

In Managing Emotions in Medical School: Students’ Contacts with the Living and the Dead, Allen C. Smith and Sherryl Kleinman explore the stance our Western culture takes regarding the question of how medical students ought to express emotions and how big of a role these emotions ought to play in the care they offer. I think one point we all have to take away from this reading is that modern culture emphasizes an apparent need to desensitize ourselves in order to provide better medical care but that this carries an immense risk of dehumanizing patients. This seems like a valid and fairly obvious point, in my opinion.

Continue reading “You Got Me Feeling Emotions…”

New View On Healthcare

Through the beginning of the semester, I really learned a lot regarding the system of healthcare and how it operates. I feel like the readings that we had helped to compliment the lecture as we learned various details such as the high costs in our healthcare system and the growth of the healthcare system throughout history. For the most part, I agreed on the issues that were raised: we definitely need to cut down the prices and de-capitalize the system of healthcare as it is right now. I found a lot of this to be not as surprising as I would’ve hoped however as this conversation has been an ongoing one for a while. While I did hope for new views on the matter, the readings and lecture broadened my view to incorporate the many people that were affected by the actions of the healthcare companies. This also raises many questions about what I think of this class in relation to the profession I am hoping to get in the future, such as what type of doctor will I be in the future or how we can maximize the patient’s comfort during their treatment without going through over-treatment.

In regards to Dr. Guseva’s teachings, I feel at times she goes a bit slow. I understand that we are getting an in-depth view of how deep this problem runs and how overlooked certain issues have become but I would prefer the teachings to be more broad on the many different aspects of the healthcare system. I’m sure we will get into it later on in the lecture, but I would hope to understand more about other countries as well. We are slowly touching on them and I hope to learn a lot more as time goes on. Overall, this class has been a really interesting and eye opening class as it is now!

The possible consequences of Republican states not accepting the Medicaid expansion

When reading the New York Times article “Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law”, I found it ironic that precisely those states with more than half of the impoverished population of the country are the ones that are not accepting the Medicaid expansion.

Giving that people are not insured and they are getting sicker because they cannot afford medicines that they would need to take daily, such as high blood pressure medications, wouldn’t it be more costly for these states, in the lung run, to have an overall sicker population? In other words, wouldn’t the decision of not expanding Medicaid be more detrimental, economically wise, for these states?

If such an important percentage of these states are impoverished people, this suggests that, if they are uninsured and they found themselves in a situation where they have to pay for a certain medical procedure, they would not be able to do so. Wouldn’t these people end up in medical bankruptcy if something like this where to happen to them? Is that even beneficial for such states? If it is not, then what reasons are outweighing the fact that these states could end up with a more sick and bankrupt population?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/health/millions-of-poor-are-left-uncovered-by-health-law.html?pagewanted=all&src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_F&_r=0

Chargemaster Conundrum

After reading Steven Brill’s article entitled “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” I was stunned, confused, and rather afraid of this so-called chargemaster. I have heard that each hospital can set their own prices internally, but I never knew there was a document and file that listed out all these prices. What I wanted to know is where are these prices coming from and who decided to set these prices in the past? (In the article it said that it used to be one list but now it is in a data base because the prices are always increasing). Also, why is it that every hospital’s prices are different and that the uninsured or those ineligible for Medicare technically have to pay the most of these ridiculously high costs? And if the chargemaster is the one that has all the set prices, why is it that the doctors just shrug off the problem as if it is no big deal and shouldn’t we be targeting and focusing on the chargemaster in hospitals as a way to make medical costs go down in this country then?