Friday, June 06, 2014

1341 The Best Health Care Advice You'll Ever Get

The doctor is in.  And here’s that advice:  Don’t get sick.  If you do get sick, make sure it’s fatal and you are at home.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at hospitals.

Of course,  there’s really no such thing as a “hospital” anymore.  

They’re all Medical Centers.  With a capital “M” and a capital “C.” And like centers of anything, they behave like they’re bigger and more important and better than they are.

What the Affordable Care Act did for many was force us to re-think whether the current health obsession in this country is what it’s cracked up to be.

And in trying to navigate the system, maybe we should be thinking about that obsession more than about our health.

The big medical centers -- oops, I mean Medical Centers --  have started acting like breakfast cereal companies.  It’s cutthroat competition.  

Everyone makes cornflakes, and says “ours are better than theirs.”

Everyone makes some version of Cheerios or Special K or Rice Checks.

And everyone spends gazillions to tell you why their version of Total With Raisins is better than anyone else’s.

Medical Centers spend an awful lot of money on advertising.  And fund raising.

Everyone is trying to grow.  And this is hothouse growth.  The big systems in this country have grown organically and over periods of many years.  But now, everyone wants to be big.  And they do it fast.  And on the fly.

The Mayo Clinic, Hopkins, Kaiser-Permanente, Vanderbilt, Mass-General, Columbia Presbyterian took decades to get to their present size and financial condition.

The little guys are struggling to catch up.  This does not necessarily affect medical care if there are sharp doctors on staff.  But it does affect things like infection rates, attention to detail, cleanliness, office procedure and accuracy.

So, here’s more of the best advice:

---If you’re hospitalized, read your chart.  Ask for translations of the things you don’t understand.

---If they have to wake you up to give you a sleeping pill, consider refusing it.

---Your best defense against a misstep in the operating room is a Sharpie or a Magic Marker.

If they’re operating on your foot, you write or get someone else to write on your bad one “This is the bad one.”  And on your other foot write “See note on other foot.”

Same goes for any other body part of which you have more than one.

Disclaimer:  Best Healthcare Advice is not right for everyone.  Possible side effects include illness up to and including death.  Common side effects are constipation, stomach pain, back pain, knee pain, runny nose, sore throat, dizziness, headache, neuritis and neuralgia.

Best Healthcare Advice does not protect against pregnancy or STDs.

The FDA has not tested and has not endorsed Best Healthcare Advice.

See your doctor.  See our ads in Popular Mechanics and Guns and Ammo magazines.

Magic Marker and Sharpie are registered trademarks of the respective manufacturers.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014

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