First, Do No Harm

Published online: Sep 23, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle Gregg Losinski
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While there certainly were those who became ill to the point of requiring medical attention, and unfortunately even dying during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the actual medical costs for most of us were pretty minor. 

We bought a few boxes of face masks here and some bottles of hand sanitizers there. The real costs were in our everyday lives, jobs and businesses. For those of us who chose to be vaccinated, the cost was zero, which is even less than the cost of annual flu shots for those of us who aren’t anti-vaxers.

As far as I can tell, we here in the United States have the best medical care in the world. It ain’t cheap, but it is very good. The trick is learning how to jump through all the hoops to get it. Even with insurance, it can still be darn expensive. The system definitely is in desperate need of an overhaul. The Affordable Care Act has certainly been far from affordable. Over the years, I’ve had my share of battles with insurance companies about what is covered and what is not. It’s amazing how one wrong digit or word can end up costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Any competent doctor can practice medicine, but it takes a great one to also navigate the endless government regulations and the insurance double-talk.

When a doctor used to enter the examining room, they carried a clipboard with a few notes on it about the patient. Now, not only does the doc have to roll in a cart with a computer, it is equipped with voice transcription software so that they can document the patient’s medical history all the way back to birth. They document what medical tests have been done, not because the doctor didn’t know the problem, but to provide legal cover for the diagnosis. 

We are to blame for creating this situation. Sure, malpractice can happen, but so can frivolous lawsuits.  

One thing the last year really showed us is that the field of medicine is still evolving. Having the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) changing their directives every week certainly added to the stress of the entire pandemic. “No masks, then wear masks, and maybe even double masks.” It makes sense that the messaging changed as more was learned about the virus, but to humans that still need to have instructions like, “rinse and repeat” on their shampoo bottles, it all got to be a bit too much. 

Throw in the layers of political agendas on both sides and the smart person was the one who quarantined themselves from both broadcast and social media.

Medicine is both a science and an art. It takes a special gift to scope colons all day or poke your fingers in the mouth of someone to care for their sore tooth. Some things can be done by the book and others take years of experience to allow the healthcare provider to take in all the symptoms and diagnose that you just need to lay off the 128-ounce Mountain Dew Mega Gulps, even if it is diet!

Being in the helping professions is becoming ever more thankless. Medical professionals are humans with skills and tools and not all-powerful gods. Perhaps because medicine has advanced so far, we expect them to be able to do anything.

We need to be thankful for the health care professionals that we have and not begrudge them the money they earn for caring for our lives as best they can. One of my doctors owns a car that he races for charity against a jet fighter taking off. If that is what it takes to deal with the stress of healing and saving people, then more power to him. He earns it every day! 


To read more of the September issue click here.

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