Practicing medicine without a timepiece

I will be operating under an assumption today. Please scrub in.
I spent five hours waiting to see a doctor at the VA today. When the doctor saw me, he spent about five minutes with me, wrote me a prescription and ordered an MRI. Medicine is so anticlimactic.

Those who have used the Department of Veterans Affairs medical system for any length of time come to expect long waits. I don’t know what takes so damn long, but that is just the way it is. The VA is a model for socialized medicine. And a very bad one at that.

But it isn’t just the VA that makes you wait for a doctor. I don’t think I’ve ever been seen what I would call “quickly” by a physician. If I was paranoid I would think that maybe doctors wait to see if you will die so they can say: “Hey, you’re not dead yet. I’m a hell of a medical practitioner am I not?”

I have seen and been seen by doctors from the time I was first whacked on the butt 50 years ago. And I don’t see that doctors have gotten any faster at seeing patients. Maybe they’re even a little slower. But I don’t look for any big changes anytime soon.

But here is a little capitalistic experiment to chew over. I’m not saying it would be good. It might be downright ghastly and dangerous. What if doctors had money subtracted from their fees if they did not see you in a timely manner? This happens in construction projects, such as in building big buildings or highways. The contractor is given incentives for getting the job done quicker. They have money subtracted from their contract if they don’t meet certain deadlines. I actually think such a model or something similar is being done by some hospital emergency rooms. I just think it is an interesting concept. I don’t know how much I would be willing to pay extra to be seen more rapidly. And frankly, I don’t know if medicine in a hurry is any better than medicine where time stands still.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *