She is on the mend now, but my mother has been in the hospital. Don’t blame me… this time it’s not my fault. But it hits home something I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. With that can of worms proverbially open, I begin.
Back a few columns ago, I made mention of the fact that it is apt to be more patriotic to criticize one’s country with intention of righting its wrongs than to let everything slide as if all were peachy. by and lare, things ARE pretty decent here, especially in the overview. We have FREEDOM in this country, especially considering how few countries tolerate the criticism of the status quo that we do. The alternative is Fascism, but that’s not what I’m writing about… I’m talking about the righting of wrongs: harping on what is wrong until something necessary is done.
We all know most of the issues: marijuana law reform, abortion rights, to vote or not to vote, the war (until a few days ago), animal rights, and so forth. But there’s one thing most of you aren’t concerned with: face it, these are your carefree years, you who are here in college. The main thrust of what you are here to do is learn; after that, having a good time is rightly well along in the pecking order. Yeah, but that leaves a lot of real concerns to other people. As an only child of elderly parents, however, I see something that most of you who are from 17 to 23 do not: this country’s health care system is really lacking, especially in care for the elderly and newborns.
There are plenty of things America is first in always and plenty more that we occupy the lead in from time to time, but the last statistics I saw said we were 17th in infant mortality and 23rd in overall medical care. That’s pathetic. And ii isn’t because our medical schools are turning out quacks, either: this simply isn’t happening. If I were in a position to choose, I’d be glad to have treatment at University Hospital in Augusta should the need arise. (For those of you who don’t know, that’s the teaching hospital of Medical College of Georgia.) Actually, it’s the politics of the whole thing that is the crux of the trouble, I believe. What it seems to lead to is that we need comprehensive National Medical Insurance in this country, if not at least semi-Socialized Medicine. I forget which country it is where the government has established a dual system of private versus government health care, and it isn’t just the poor who get the public care versus the rich who have private services: it apparently works for them, and I forget what country it is: perhaps someone can enlighten me. But something needs to be done in America in terms of overhauling the entire Health Care Industry, and soon.
Again, I’m not here to indict the bulk of doctors or other health professionals we now have… nor the hospitals… nor anything else specifically. I just see something really gotten in Denmark (not Denmark, S.C., although it is probably rotten there, too) and want to mention it while being given the space and feeling the impetus. My mother received excellent care, but she is not my worry—at least for present. There is a hideous shortage of folks who want to go into any sort of health professions work, and hospitals are not to blame for underpaying their help: department after department in hospital after hospital across our nation are being run on staffs so short that skeletality would be be a boon to them. “I mean, you can get no thinner than a snake,” I hear The Sage Of Lilburn say. Small hospitals have been forced to close in many places: witness the near-closure and subsequent renaissance of Minnie G. Boswell Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, 34 miles down the road. And there are others: some of you can probably tell me of the hospital you were born in having closed. Not me, though: the one I was born in moved—and the very spot where I came alive screaming is a vacant lot… in fact, I drove by it a couple of days ago, just to say “howdy” to that consecrated ground.
And, at least in Georgia, the problem isn’t inept doctors being allowed to keep misdosing—or misdiagnosing—their desperate patients, free from forces that would revoke their credentials. The top two states in removing doctors from practice are New Jersey and Georgia. At last report, Florida was either near or at the bottom. The unstated position of their state medical folks seems to be something akin to “Let the quacks treat the old folks. That’s fine. Those old geezers and biddies will be dead soon enough anyway, and a new crop of ’em will float south to take their places.” This is criminal. Again, I have no proof: just an educated hunch. I’m not on Georgia’s case: try rereading what I wrote if you think so.
Well, I left a lot unsaid. This time, let me leave my column understated. Draw your own conclusions. And I’ll bet 87% of you agree with me for once, too. I hope someone who is more in-the-know than I can write a better column on this and get it printed where it can really do some good.
Again, my mother is improving and ought to be back home by the time this hits the streets. She’s the only Mom I’ll ever have, and I wrote this because I want to do my part to see her taken care of.
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