What ever happened to ‘Medical Professionalism’?
It disappeared without a trace. I mean, I’m sure it was there once upon a time, long ago when people went into the medical profession in order to be of service and help people. Now? Not so much.
The other day a distant memory came into my thoughts, as it does so randomly now and then. It was a standard vaccination, everyone I knew had to go get it, nurses went into schools, colleges, universities all over the country. Now, everyone knows what kind of questions are asked before you can have certain vaccines. Are you on any medication? Do you smoke? Is there any possibility you could be pregnant? (The latter obviously only applies to women unless you are reading this from another planet) We know they must ask these questions, we eventually grow somewhat comfortable with answering them. I have no problem admitting I answered no to all of these questions. I was perfectly comfortable sitting there answering. What I was not comfortable with, however, was the nurse’s next comment.
“Are you sure? Looks like you could have two in there.”
Yes. She actually said that. I don’t know many teenage girls who don’t care at least a little about how they look, but as a young teenage girl at the time who hated herself because of a little extra weight (looking back, there is no way I was big enough to look pregnant with twins), I was devastated.
Looking back, I wish I had slapped her. I wish I’d kicked and screamed and insulted her, because it wasn’t until I left the room that I realised: I didn’t know who to complain to. My mother didn’t know either. Where do you send complaints to a health service that is supposed to care for you? Well, when I refused to appear for a follow up injection there were questions, and I told the other nurses of the insult. They said they would deal with it, but I don’t know if they ever did.
I have many other, more heart breaking examples. An old college friend who lost faith in her dream job of being a nurse after some volunteer work in a charity hospital left her sickened by the level of carelessness her collegues displayed. A great grandmother I never met, for whom suffering Altzheimers apparently wasn’t enough as her carers forgot to feed her and stole her jewelery. A teacher whose uncle suffered kidney failure and so had to have dialysis… and contracted Hepatitis C from the machine. Which he passed on to his wife before he was told he had contracted it. And a distant family member, a young, bubbly, warm woman who left two young children behind when a hospital’s carelessness left her to die alone in a hospital room.
So: do we have a health care system? Or the illusion of one?
Obama wants to put into place an ‘NHS’ system in the USA. Well, I think it will be great. Just like football, cricket, and a number of industries, anything that originated in Britain always works better in other countries. So he has nothing to worry about.
“Doc I got a sliver
Embedded in my bone!”
“Then lay down on the table, son
Whilst I put my apron on.
Have a drop ‘o whiskey
And I’ll sort you out a crutch
For after I cut the bullet out
And make sure the wound is trussed.”
“Doc, I have a problem
It’s painful to the bone!”
“I’ll refer you to a specialist
For now you must go home.
Take a paracetamol
Have a little rest
Your appointment’s in a month or two
You’ll be lucky if it’s less.”
Haven’t we come far
From herbs and dance recitals
To the so called specialists
Who heal with but a title?
Oh how times have changed
As centuries move on
Drugs may be advancing
But faith in man is gone.
Do you have any stories you’d like to share? Anything mentioned you’d like to hear more about? Or any other issues you’d like me to rant about? Hey, I’m open to listening to anything you have to say. Just comment.