Skip to main content

Leave No Patient on the Battlefield.

Despite our professed values, everything has a price.

We value life, but our society is unwilling to lower the highway speed limit to 40 mph, which would surely save lives.  The price of our collective inconvenience and economic impact is too high.

Lower Speed Limit and Save Lives?

We leave no soldier on the battlefield, but this military value cannot be viewed in isolation.  We are told this week by our commander-in-chief and his acolytes that rescuing a captured soldier is worthy regardless of the price.  We are told that negotiating with terrorists, breaking the law by not notifying congress and the release of 5 hardened Taliban detainees is a reasonable price for the return of a captured sergeant.    I feel that the price exacted was too high, although admittedly my view would be different if the sergeant were in my family.  For those who argue that no price is too high to rescue one of our own, should we have surrendered to the Nazis in World War II in return for some captured U.S. soldiers?   So, the noble principle of leaving no soldier on the battlefield is not absolute and needs context.

We want a secure nation, but at what price?  There’s a tension in America between security and civil liberties that is ongoing.  North Korea is a very secure state, but we wouldn’t be willing to pay the price that Korean citizens are forced to pay.  We willingly tolerate some level of insecurity here in order to preserve our personal freedoms and rights. 

We strive for quality medical care for all, but at what price?  We expect timely access to medical specialists, diagnostic testing on demand, the newest medications, affordable prescriptions and second opinions on request.  We don’t object to the price as someone else is picking up the bill.   If we were paying the tab ourselves, would we do so willingly and enthusiastically?  And the aggregate cost of rampant over-diagnosis and over-treatment affects every one of us.  Decades of draining the system and providing medical care without limit and spending more money per capita than other nations that have healthier citizenry have exacted a heavy price called Obamacare. 

Like the military, we aim to rescue every patient.  But, can we?  What are we willing to give up to accomplish this mission?


  1. Decades of draining the system and providing medical care without limit and spending more money per capita than other nations that have healthier citizenry have exacted a heavy price called Obamacare. aimbot for bf4

  2. My husband and I discuss this a lot as I am, unfortunately, a heavy user of the health care system. The ACA isn't the final answer, it's a piece.

    But politics are so bad now, I don't know that we'll ever get a workable system. Probably not in my lifetime.

    My one thought is to push for everyone to have the ability to set up an HSA regardless of their health insurance plan (or lack thereof). Stopping tying it to specific plans. Let us save the money we're going to need. Let us set up HSA's for our kids a la the 529 plans for education that they can take into adulthood.

    Because ACA provides insurance, but still leaves patients financially vulnerable.

    Beyond that suggestion, I have no idea how we're going to fix this mess. The system didn't work before and it doesn't work now. There are too many competing interests for any effective change imo.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Most Doctors Choose Employment

Increasingly, physicians today are employed and most of them willingly so.  The advantages of this employment model, which I will highlight below, appeal to the current and emerging generations of physicians and medical professionals.  In addition, the alternatives to direct employment are scarce, although they do exist.  Private practice gastroenterology practices in Cleveland, for example, are increasingly rare sightings.  Another practice model is gaining ground rapidly on the medical landscape.   Private equity (PE) firms have   been purchasing medical practices who are in need of capital and management oversight.   PE can provide services efficiently as they may be serving multiple practices and have economies of scale.   While these physicians technically have authority over all medical decisions, the PE partners can exert behavioral influences on physicians which can be ethically problematic. For example, if the PE folks reduce non-medical overhead, this may very directly affe

Why This Doctor Gave Up Telemedicine

During the pandemic, I engaged in telemedicine with my patients out of necessity.  This platform was already destined to become part of the medical landscape even prior to the pandemic.  COVID-19 accelerated the process.  The appeal is obvious.  Patients can have medical visits from their own homes without driving to the office, parking, checking in, finding their way to the office, biding time in the waiting room and then driving out afterwards.  And patients could consult physicians from far distances, even across state lines.  Most of the time invested in traditional office visits occurs before and after the actual visits.  So much time wasted! Indeed, telemedicine has answered the prayers of time management enthusiasts. At first, I was also intoxicated treating patients via cyberspace, or telemedically, if I may invent a term.   I could comfortably sink into my own couch in sweatpants as I guided patients through the heartbreak of hemorrhoids and the distress of diarrhea.   Clear

Solutions for Medical Burnout

Over the past few months, I’ve written enough posts on Medical Burnout that I have created a new category to house them.  Readers will find there posts detailing the causes and consequences of burnout in the medical profession. The profession has been long on the causes but short on solutions.   What must be done to loosen the burnout shackles from medical professionals? It will be a huge undertaking for caregivers and society at large to turn this ocean liner around.  And it will take time.  The first step must be to obtain a commitment to the overall mission from as many constituents as possible.   Support will be needed from medical professionals, hospital leadership and administrators, physician employers, insurance companies and the public.   As with many reform efforts, many of the players must be willing to sacrifice some of their own interests in order to server the greater good – a worthy and rare event.   Without adequate buy-in from stakeholders, the effort will never ge