I was taught the importance of an education as a young child. This education became more concentrated as I grew up and attended college. As a result, I developed a PASSION for HEALTH which became my primary focus in education. This culminated in a career as a physician.
This title, “PHYSICIAN” created a cloak of authority and power. My life developed “value” as my patients turned to me for guidance and instilled their confidence in my health decision making skills. It reinforced my “relevance” and proved to society “I MATTERED.” Thankfully, maturity and experience taught me how naive this perception was.
Most of us experience this “I MATTER” phenomenon. Whether we become a “VALUED” employee or produce a “VALUED” product or service, we often use these values to determine we MATTER.
Our government values us based on our ability to work and pay taxes. Our mortgage companies and utility companies value us based on our ability to pay for their services and products.
Have you ever wondered when our INDIVIDUAL VALUE (and MATTERING) begins to dissipate?
How do we view our senior population? Do we turn to them for their experience and marvel at their wisdom and effort over their years of service? Do we reach out and thank them for their efforts that have contributed to the opportunities we have today? Seniors seem to live quieter lives (in general.) They travel less, they no longer purchase new homes, they no longer retain employment (which, in turn, reduces their tax contributions to society) and they no longer pay college tuition for their children. Instead, they often require society’s assistance to help sustain basic necessities especially if their health has waned. Based on these changes in lifestyle as we age, does our society and its MORAL CHARACTER shine in support of this segment of our population? Do we reinforce their value and the FACT THAT THEY MATTER through our ACTIONS and EMOTIONAL SUPPORT, or do we (in general) view them as a source of STRESS and a drain on the SYSTEM?
NOW THAT I’VE GAINED YOUR ATTENTION:
How much do you matter as an entity in society? How much do you think my profession cares about your HEALTH? Do you think we would invest the time, effort and money to help you maximize your health and quality of life if your savings and health insurance didn’t exist? Conversely, if you had quality resources (savings and good health insurance) is it possible we might provide services above and beyond that which is needed, not because YOU MATTER, but because OUR “FINANCIAL WANTS” MATTER? Need more proof? Have you ever read about UNNECESSARY DIAGNOSTIC TESTING patients go through because it generates additional revenue for the medical institutions? Do you believe this testing would readily be performed on those patients without sufficient means to pay for it (in most cases,) even if the doctor believed it could help determine a more accurate diagnosis? How about the unnecessary treatments ALL TYPES OF DOCTORS benefit from because patients rely on the honesty and integrity of these individuals? Do you believe doctors are immune to deception when power and large sums of money are part of the equation?
I HAVE AN IDEA FOR YOU
The next time your doctor recommends a treatment for you, your spouse or your child (which you assume is necessary and beneficial,) ask the doctor:
“if I had no money, no insurance and no means to pay for the recommended treatment, what else would you suggest?”
“if I had no money, no insurance and no means to pay for it, would you reschedule a follow up office visit?”
“if I had no money, no insurance and no means to pay for it, would you prescribe drugs I couldn’t afford anyway, or take the time and recommend IN DETAIL alternative approaches (ex. nutrition plans and exercise) that didn’t add additional unaffordable expenses to improve my health?”
“if I had no money, no insurance and no means to pay for it, would I (or my family) really MATTER!?” If you believe the doctor would answer “yes,” to this question, what parameters do you think he or she would use to prove it?
When we are willing to separate our EMOTIONAL NEEDS from this STARK REALITY and no longer BLINDLY believe our AUTHORITATIVE PROFESSIONALS are motivated by moral altruism, we begin to realize the importance of CONTROL over our OWN DECISION MAKING and the relevance it plays in becoming MASTERS of our own FUTURE. Once we break free from the bonds of traditional thinking and arrive at this conclusion, we begin to clearly see our lives:
At this point, our ability to OBJECTIVELY evaluate motives of AUTHORITATIVE PROFESSIONALS in health care (as well as life in general) provide a RATIONAL perspective rather than simply an EMOTIONAL one. This helps improve our INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL CONFIDENCE when deciding to CONSENT OR REFUSE treatment recommendations. Both party’s involved (doctor and patient) now recognize their individual roles as well as their individual responsibilities. This leads to greater mutual respect and helps reinforce a new REALITY that both lives
This relationship can only develop if BOTH parties see the weaknesses in the current system. The patient has been the PASSIVE recipient for a very long time. The doctor has traditionally “dictated” (in most cases) the decision making process. It becomes the PATIENT’S responsibility to initiate change in this relationship, because the doctor has to answer to AUTHORITATIVE PROFESSIONALS as well, who create policies they must follow. You see, the doctors lives only MATTER as long as they are capable of generating revenue by following their superior’s instructions.
Are you willing to accept greater responsibility for your own health? Are you willing to LEARN and UNDERSTAND the options available and ask the questions necessary to choose the BEST OPTION (NOT NECESSARILY THE TRADITIONAL OPTION) that fits your personal needs? If the answer is YES, you have consciously decided: