HEALTHCARE is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer!!!
I am a 75 year old physician whose pleasure and blessing it has been to treat my patients over my fifty year presence in medicine. I have watched our country go slowly downhill in both education and healthcare.
The slide in both healthcare and medicine has been on a parallel path. Of course, when I talk about this, I do not know what the relationship is. Please let me make some suggestions as to what I think and reason may be a direct correlation.
Medicine in the United States formerly ranked number one in the world as did education. Is it reasonable to think as medicine has undergone a downhill slide to last in the industrialized world, this has led to our uneducated young knowing less? I think not. Education in our country is miserable to say the least. The people best educated in our country today come out of private schools and hopefully will be the leaders tomorrow. We will not be able to choose leaders that do not know if California or Delaware are on the East coast or the West coast.
Do our leaders come from young people who cannot even read the Declaration of Independence because they do not know cursive? What has our country become? Why is it so difficult for the young to learn how to write? Even the printing of these youngsters leaves something to be desired when it is legible. All this downgrading of education will affect our country. We import more and more Indian people to run our technology. When my friends and former patients ask me who to go to for a doctor, I always tell them to go to an Indian physician first, then Asian, then an older American physician.
Why do I say this? It is because younger physicians in America have lost all diagnostic capabilities of the physician of yesteryear. How does this happen? How do we go from first place in the world in healthcare to the last? Easy! We get a machine to take our place. Why should a doctor know anything if they can look it up on their iPhone? That is what is taking place today. I have gone to and been seen by multiple young doctors lately. A couple I can think of did not even examine me although it was for chest pain. They did not order appropriate tests.
Why know how to read an EKG if a machine can do it for you? I’ll tell you why. Machines are not infallible, and with an MRI machine telling you what it sees, we now depend on the expertise of the physician. This all makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is when the physician reads the MRI, what happens if he does not have access to the patient to see if the reading correlates with the patient’s clinical presentation? His likelihood of making the correct reading is not as good.
I once suggested to a radiologist friend of mine that I thought I would always read x-rays better than him. He was a grand radiologist whose name was Murray Mylrea. I was kidding of course, but he immediately answered, of course you can Rick. You have the patient and I do not.
In 1968 when I graduated from the University of Nebraska, our country ranked number one in the world in medicine. Our only diagnostic modality outside of ourselves was an x-ray. Family practitioners gave 70% of the care given, with the rest given by specialists.
Now we rank behind every other industrialized country in the world. We have so many more tests and diagnostic capabilities that I cannot begin to put them on this page. Yet, we rank last in the world in healthcare. I am letting you draw your own conclusions as to why that is. Tell me the last time you met a specialist on the street that knew your name and asked you about your family.
Thanks for your time and God bless all of you.
Rick R. Redalen, M.D., the Maverick Doctor
Pick up “God’s Tiniest Angel and the Last Unicorn” on Amazon.
Dr. Rick is a retired American physician, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has done mission work
around the country and around the world. He is now on a mission to improve healthcare in America. Visit maverickdoctor.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.