Sunday, May 17, 2009

Inside out

The political cartoon of the day features a patient lying in a hospital bed labeled "US Heath Care System." Equipment packs the room preventing the nurse and the masked and gloved surgeon, labeled "Obama," from touching the patient. The nurse questions, "Where do we start?"

The letters section contains comments from a physician decrying the criticism of a retired multimillionaire hospital administrator and a taxpayer who points out all pay the price of the uninsured using hospital emergency rooms as their sole access.

So where do we begin? With the only avenue open to each of us. Ourselves. The physician must take the time to get the results of the test done last week rather than simply ordering another one from the laboratory she owns. The health care administrator must stop ordering supplies exclusively from the company on whose board he sits. The politician must look at the big picture of affordable health care not the plan that will garner the most votes in the next elections.

And the patient? The patient wants everything done and wants it, well, yesterday! We are all patients. If we do not require health care at this moment we will in the future. You can bet on that. Where do we begin? Start eating better. Increase physical activity. Drink more water. Reduce stimulants (caffeine, sugar, electronic media) and depressants (alcohol). Get more fresh air. Don't smoke tobacco. Go to bed at a reasonable hour to get enough rest. These simple measure will not only reduce health care costs. Lifestyle changes such as these will decrease illness as well reducing the need for many of the costly advances now available.
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