The Chaos of Medicine: The Chaos of Medicine

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Chaos of Medicine

I know medicine is just like the real world. I personally experience the staff shortages. I know that money is important in achieving anything. But when I read this, I was shocked. In some way, my unexperienced, optimistic self never considered it to be a possibility, not in a developed country. Not in any country that is generally considered 'fair'.

Now I know I can't reasonably expect anyone to work for free. I am also aware of the fact that it probably takes a lot of educated people to produce any type of medicine, and that it costs a lot of money. Still I can't wrap my mind around the fact that medicine doesn't have some sort of special status that makes all these problems go away. Is it even possible to put a price tag on life? How can this be regarded as fair, and if not, why isn't this problem solved yet? I don't have all the answers. I am not pretending like I know how this problem should be solved. It just doesn't feel right.

And there you are, as a doctor. You've studied for 10+ years and know what could possibly cure your patient. Something as trivial as production prevents you from having access to the drug. What do you do next? With limited access, who do you treat? In theory, it might be ethical not to choose. But in practice, would anyone not use a supply of life-saving drugs?

I think it is a horrible situation to have to choose who you provide care to. I will probably never be a doctor in a less developed country for that reason. I am currently considering becoming a pediatric oncologist and many people find this to be strange. They ask me: "Why would you want that? It's depressing. I could never do that." But for me, there is a difference between the two situations. It is terrible if a child dies of cancer. It should not happen, period. That said, if a child dies, we know there is usually nothing more anyone could have done. But if someone dies because of a lack of access to meds that could cure him, it feels different to me. Medicine, in all it's chaos, should be fair. If diseases aren't fair, at the very least, health care should be.

1 comment:

  1. Love this comment of your, " Medicine, in all it's chaos, should be fair. If diseases aren't fair, at the very least, health care should be." Should be a plaque in every office,medical center,hospital.