Friday, June 13, 2008

Retrospective studies

I hate to say it but sometimes the overall process of medicine can just get me down. I mean all the hassles and paperwork, the politics and the economics. A reality check is sometimes needed. For us these reality checks are in the form of mission trips. It is amazing to see people walk for two days just to have their children seen for diseases that are rare here secondary to vaccinations and sanitation. You don't know how good you have it until you see a child with polio or see an infant suffocate from whooping cough. We do our best with the medications that we can backpack in. There are no forms, no insurance companies, only people trying to help. We try to vaccinate, give vitmains are kill parasites. There are no MRIs or CTs. Bleach is our best medication as it can make water safe. Clean water is life.

There you try to do the best with what you have and you pray that it is enough.

On the trip back the first thing we see as we get back to the States, a big sign for trial attorneys trying to drum up business to sue for malpractice and nursing homes. We had doctors and nurses, builders and engineers, teachers and postal workers, homemakers and accountants on our last mission trip. We had no attorneys, health insurance claim adjustors or JACHO auditors.


SeaSpray said...

Oh Throckmorton! I have so much respect for you or anyone who has volunteered their time and energy to do this kind of work. It must feel so good to know you are making a difference...even if it isn't everything you would do if possible.

And it must break your heart sometimes or perhaps often when you know you can't do it all.

It must be nice to see a problem and just do what you can to fix it as opposed to all the red tape and things that bog down and hinder the process. I wonder how much time, energy and money is wasted on all the extraneous details that could have gone straight to the patient or more supplies?

Obviously there has to be controls, checks and balances, precautions. Not everyone would necessarily follow protocols and would take shortcuts to cut time or cost, etc., etc., etc., but all the precautions necessary because of our ever increasing litigious society have to be bogging things down.

And then just the fact that docs, etc. have to constantly be on guard for potential lawsuits when all you want to do is help and make a living. It isn't right.

You see a hungry just want to give them food, not fill out forms, follow regulations etc., naked-clothe them and sick treat them. Pretty basic yet so complicated.

I seriously appreciate your frustration.

I guess these rules/regulations are for the protection of doctors and patients but too bad a handshake doesn't mean anything anymore. And work ethic...some people don't care if they do their best...they are just there for the pay check. And then of course the people who want something for nothing. Ya know...I think that if people sue with frivolous lawsuits and they lose...they should know up front that they will then be responsible for all legal costs that were incurred by the other side trying to defend itself.

Sorry-digressing. I am wordy anyway but I think Percocet adds to it. Aside from fatigue, I am FINALLY just starting to feel like myself again! But I will have to try to watch what I type while on this med...sometimes thoughts flow a little too freely.

Of course delete any of this anytime.

How do you use the bleach in water...ratio?

The people must look at you with such gratitude. I can see where visiting third world areas would help center a person to know what is really important. You must come home feeling so appreciative of even the simplist things.

My husband gets frustrated with me sometimes because I get frustrated when I can't help everyone I want to help in various ways. His now mantra is " CAN'T save the world!" Of course I don't do anything as big as overseas missions, etc. but I believe we can make a difference in our little corner of the world, one person at a time. In my case, bake for someone, clean, take them shopping, hugs,listen, financial help (joke now!), thank you notes, etc.,..anything to brighten someones day or give them hope or let them know they matter and are appreciated. Hopefully those actions go forward. People have been so good to me throughout my life and I will always be grateful. And I have let people down by not being there when needed. I guess in the end..all we can do is our best and it isn't always going to be someone else's best.

Thank you for making such a difference in the lives of others.

Ok, pretty sure I've gone off track. Seriously...delete if you wish too. :)

SeaSpray said...

Just one more thing(s) Throckmorton...You said,"I hate to say it but sometimes the overall process of medicine can just get me down. I mean all the hassles and paperwork, the politics and the economics."

It bothers me to think that someone who obviously contributes so much of himself to help others could be discouraged by all the stupid stuff that hinders you from doing what you really want to do. I understand...well as much as any lay person can.

Just remember to take time for yourself. Pursue the things that bring you joy, peace and pleasure and help you to feel whole, relaxed and centered. You already sound like someone who does appreciate what they have.

I always knew that doctors were busy but I saw it first hand last Saturday. my urodoc was on call for the weekend (THANK GOD!!!) and came in to see me around 7am.I believe he had Saturday clinic hours which I think go until 12. I have no clue what else was on his agenda but the nurse later in the afternoon said he had been checking on me and was also in surgery at a larger hospital down below. He called me sometime in the evening to say that he was driving back and was taking me into the OR because I had a dangerous pre-sepsis infection. I think we went in around 9pm..not sure. I don't know what time we finished...maybe by 10? Anyway...that was one lo-o-o-n-g day!

I didn't think I could possibly respect him anymore than i already do...but I do. I also feel bad about the times I may have bothered him with phone calls or questions. I am just one patient but then multiply that x how many patients.

I am absolutely going to try to be more sensitive to his time. I already am as compared to the fall 06/winter 07 (got a little squirrelly, although understandably)I just am so comfortable with him that I forget... but I will work on it.

Remember your victories with patients. All the people that you have helped because of your expertise either in the OR or in helping to keep them out.

I don't remember seeing my doc post-op but some people said that he seemed relieved that it went well. That warmed my heart because I know how much effort he has put into my case and that seems to be holding up. Glad he got that win! :) Don't know what is going on yet but at least I am not re-scarring.

So what does this have to do with anything? You are not my doctor and I am not your patient. But I am someone's patient and I am a very grateful patient. Multiply people like me millions of times over and just know that for all your frustrations, and all good doctors do make a difference...even if it is not as much as you would like. If it wasn't for pharmacy companies and skilled doctors...I would be dead today. How do you top that?

I just hope the kids entering medicine today don't get discouraged. I am thinking though that this is what they are coming into and so they don't know any differently. Whereas the docs who remember how much simpler the paperwork was or better the insurance payments...they and perhaps you get discouraged.

Chrysalis Angel said...

What a great thing to do, to try to help these people. I think it would be one of the most fulfilling things you could do. I've often thought about Operation Smile, as I used to make the obturators for the cleft palate cases in our area. It's a shame the way things are today. So much frustration for the people trying to provide good patient care, while someone sitting at a desk somewhere tells you, you can't do such and such for your patient. Sad.