Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of medical books, blogs, and articles. The past two months have unlocked vaults containing shelves and rows of valuable insight into the profession I aim to pursue. Amidst the texts’ perspectives, I’ve singled out a specialty I might be interested in. Among two others at this point, I’m intrigued by primary care physicians, our family doctors.
Theirs is a noble role on the front lines of health care. You’d never know, though. In war, we readily recognize Marines, but we require a reminder to recognize that behind every Marine, there are a number of military personnel enabling and supporting him or her. In health care, we readily recognize the neurosurgeons and oncologists, but a reminder isn’t enough to push us to recognize the family physician. The medical practitioner totem pole, from what I gather, has carved family physicians near the bottom. That’s hardly the place for these Marines to be.
Obama has recently presented a new health care plan. I’ve no idea what I think of it since I am still trying to understand how health care works. ((Kaiser.edu is a sight that might help. One of the data the website cites is that most Americans don’t understand health care.)) What I do know, from what I’ve been reading, is that if Obama wants this universal health care, someone has to remedy the stigma that primary care physicians have been gradually scarred. Recruitment into these ranks has been decreasing, and given the lifestyle and compensation of the specialty, it appears that unless an intervention and reformation is applied, primary care physicians will soon become a sight to see. “You saw your doctor yesterday? I’m still hoping he’s received my call.”
I might want to be a primary care physician. I don’t want primary care physicians to enter the profession without ample means to reduce the weight in their bag of scholarly debt; without deserved respect from their peers and the public; without the mind of a businessman, but instead of a healer and preventer who doesn’t have to worry about whether he will be paid this hour with these — and not this — patients. Medicine — our health — is not a business, and like so many things in America, somehow it’s managed to become one.