Here is a sneak peak of the first chapter!
Why This Book Matters To You
After you finish this book, you will know what I know when it comes to medical care. I believe it can be boiled down into these short but important phrases.
- Newer isn’t necessarily better.
- More isn’t necessarily better.
- Common sense may not apply.
- Staying healthy and well means sometimes seeking medical care.
- You need to be informed and educated to get the best care.
Or I could burden you with statistics from the health care system
which you probably already know.
- Twenty-three seconds.
- Fifteen minutes.
- Forty percent.
- Medical costs.
- Increasing dissatisfaction.
- Worst among industrialized countries.
These are the questions to the previous answers.
- Twenty-three seconds: How much time do you have before your doctor interrupts you?
- Fifteen minutes: What is the average face-to-face time at a doctor’s office visit?
- Forty percent: What is the misdiagnosis rate based on autopsy?
- Medical costs: What is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy? Many had health insurance.
- Increasing dissatisfaction: How does the public feel about the American health care system?
- Worst among industrialized countries: How does the United States rank in terms of health care quality for prevention and treatment?
Staying healthy and well means sometimes seeking medical care.
I could tell you that too many Americans die every year unnecessarily and too soon due to missed opportunities. Healthy patients forget to get screened for colon cancer or breast cancer. Heart attacks and strokes that could have been prevented occur. Grandfathers and grandmothers aren’t around to attend holidays, graduations, or spend time with their grandchildren. Parents leave their children alone because their cancer was caught too late. No one is the wiser to this.
Newer isn’t necessarily better. More isn’t necessarily better.
You may have noticed that increasingly doctors rush through office appointments and don’t listen. Too often blood work is done, medications prescribed, and x-rays ordered, and despite all of the additional treatments patients don’t feel healthier. Television, radio, magazines, and the Internet inundate you with the latest prescription medications or therapy promising you better health. The news warns you to check with your doctor about the latest therapy with quick, thirty-second sound bites. You are fearful that you might be missing something important that could save your life.
Common sense may not apply.
Increasingly more parents are not having their children immunized against preventable illnesses such as measles and pertussis (whooping cough). Now news reports note more cases. Some children die. Many have lost faith and look for alternative and more “natural” therapies. Doctors who are supposed to help guide you and distinguish truth from fiction are just too busy, so more people are relying on family, friends, and the Internet for medical advice.
You need to be informed and educated to get the best care.
To add even more stress, health insurance is becoming too expensive. Small and large companies are trying to control costs by offering health insurance with health savings accounts (HSAs). These plans have lower monthly premiums with high deductibles. Since 2004, these plans have become more common. Many patients are now asked to choose when to seek care and when to safely skip care based not only on their health needs but on their ability to pay, even as research consistently shows that they don’t want the financial responsibility to do so.
There is good news.
Despite all of these challenges, there is good news. You aren’t alone. When I took the Hippocratic oath to do no harm and help patients to the best of my ability, I didn’t realize that pledge included writing a book. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. Never a writer. I hated English. I only took the class because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Despite that, I am compelled to write because of what I know is occurring with alarming frequency in our country. Americans are skipping needed and recommended care that could save their lives and allow them to live to their fullest. Patients are more distracted, as life is more complicated and busier than ever. Households have both parents working, sometimes two jobs, just to make ends meet. They easily would make the right choice if someone would be willing to explain things in a simple, understandable manner. They would prefer a health care system that was so incredibly simple to use, convenient, and personalized that it would anticipate their needs so they could get the right care and get back to living life.
Instead, our health care system offers patients higher co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. It shifts the burden of making the right choices to people who frankly are just getting by. It asks people to fend for themselves at a time when they need us, doctors, the most.
How do I know? Two things occurred that changed my life.