A Personal Reflection on Healthcare

I decided to write on the technology on healthcare in large part because it will soon be a dominant part of my life. I will be attending medical school next fall, and as a result all aspects of medicine, both good and bad, will have an effect on my interpretation of the world and my place in it. I think that it’s important for me to be able to reflect on this system before I engage with it, because in a sense this will I think give me slightly more control over my fate within it. There are countless aspects to modern medicine which are both good, and bad. For instance, few will disagree that our current system is both far to expensive, and far too inefficient. However, what I think is very easy to forget is that on a day to day basis, it is ordinary people trying to conduct themselves professionally within it to best serve their fellow man. In large, abstract conversations regarding the organization of our national healthcare, or controlling medical costs, I think it is easy to forget that the art of medical care at the end of the day is comprised by individual interactions, not between competing corporations but between human beings. What so attracts me about the profession of a physician is not the compensation, which will be slashed in years to come and with which I will have to pay off my ~$200,000 anyway. A life of luxury does not draw me either; I will likely be working 50+ hour weeks with an irregular and unpredictable schedule. What attracts me to medicine is the sense of self worth and accomplishment I just might be able to achieve for myself knowing that each day, if nothing else I will have the opportunity to improve someone else’s life. This may sound naive, and in all likelihood it very much is, however it’s any ideal I think any student wishing to pursue medicine needs to have. It’s for this reason that an investigation of medical technology interests me. If a system and the technology in it is broken, it’s likely that even those with the best of intentions will find it difficult to succeed within it. Many people often point fingers at seemingly incompetent nurses, doctors, and other professionals when they feel they have been overcharged or under-served. However, I feel that if the public were properly educated on the issues that medical professionals face in today’s society, it would be much more cooperative and understanding of the current situation. Medicine is not expensive because the people prescribing it are greedy, no more than waiting periods are seemingly endless because professionals are lazy. It is instead the system which has been built, and the bureaucracy which manages it, which so chokes it. In my final paper, I hope to be able to analyze this system, and potentially find ways which which patients and healthcare providers alike can both learn to cope with it in the most efficient, empathetic, and meaningful way possible.

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