Thursday, May 01, 2014

Personal Responsibility

I wanted to share these two things that came up today.
First of all, an urgent phone call from a patient my Nurse Practitioner saw- someone I have not seen myself. She was a 54 year old woman with diabetes and BMI 54, who wanted to be started "immediately" on weight loss pills because she was short of breath. Never mind that at her last visit it was revealed that she had a crap diet, and didn't work out because she was busy with work.
Another was an email I got from a local lawyer. She was wanting me to be an expert witness for her case, a woman with poorly controlled diabetes and noncompliance, who was admitted for hyperglycemia of 650 mg/dL, A1c 14%. They were very willing to pay me for my time. Apparently during the hospitalization she fell because she was unsteady on her feet. One thing led to another and she developed an infection which ultimately led to a below-knee amputation. She's now suing the hospital because appparently they didn't prevent her from falling. So it's their fault that she lost her foot. I was fuming when I read the report. And diplomatically told the lawyer: "No thanks" though I was tempted to say that it was not the hospital's fault that your patient was in poor health, and weight 230 kg, and was lazy and had uncontrolled diabetes. She had only herself to blame for losing her foot. And suing the hospital only shows her, and her lawyers' greed. Go to hell, I was tempted to say.
It's easy to blame others. But where are we going to draw the line? When are we going to admit that our health is our responsibility- no one else's. And that if shit happens, take a good look at the mirror before you blame anyone else.
But in the meantime, we blame others. The doctors. The hospitals. McDonalds (remember that case years ago when the stupid mother sued McD for making her kid fat?). And we wonder why the healthcare costs go up. We wonder why hospitals charge so much, if nothing else only to be able to cover the millions they spend on legal costs every year.
It is times like this that I realize there is no hope for the future of healthcare in the USA. That I worry about retiring here and having to incur healthcare costs. And that perhaps it is just a matter of time before a patient sues me because his diabetes was making him blind.

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