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Taking Care of the Whole Patient

During my early years in medicine we pretty much took care of our whole patient. Our general medical knowledge allowed us to care for our patients in surgery, obstetrics, and family practice. Because of this generalized practice, more services were offered and the patient was not sent from specialist to specialist, each one taking care of some small part of the patient and each specialist submitting their own charge while knowing virtually nothing outside of their small specialty.

Because of the way medicine is now practiced in the United States very few patients know their physicians well as patients are not only shuffled from clinic to clinic but from specialist to specialist within one clinic. Often times an obstetric patient may see nearly a dozen obstetricians prior to her delivery and then have a physician whom she has not yet met deliver her baby. Even though everything probably goes fine, it is still nice to share the experience with someone you know rather than a stranger simply doing their job. Many people probably think they get better medical care when seeing someone more versed in their particular specialty than someone practicing all the arms of medicine. If we look at the outcomes over the past forty years, we see that the medical care outcomes have not changed much. Advancements are negligible when we compare them to the advancements of medical technology.

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