Do Not Much Harm

God does the Work, but we collect the fee. – Surgeons Motto

“Primum_Non_Nocere /First, Do No Harm”

I have a major concern about my present health care providers, after my last interaction with my Care Provider; I didn’t receive a Lollipop or piece of candy at the conclusion. I realized it was probably just an unfortunate mistake, but I was so looking forward to my sweet after the examination, which had been the custom my childhood G.P. Dr. Suzuki. Our 1950’s wonderful doctor with a kind yet professional face, who would arrive from his office on Jackson Street, carrying the ubiquitous black leather bag; full of medical devices, various and sundry potions, and candy to reward me for being his good patient. One might argue that it was sixty some years ago, with modern medicine having eliminated the need for general practitioners. At age 65 I can afford to and should buy my own lollipops.

True, it’s not the sweets or bedtime manners from my physicians I miss, but it is the feeling that I am being Cared For, by an; empathetic, sensitive, understanding, medical practitioner, whom would explain my prognosis and diagnosis in a simple but informative manner. If I visit a facility and am rushed through the procedures by busy people doing a “job” instead of “being of service”, I’m insulted having worked in the medical field, I can sense when I’m a being rushed along the assembly line. I would rather be considered an ailing patient, requesting the help and expertise from knowledgeable staff, whom are eager to help me in my time of need. I want my doctor to fully inform me on my present illness and how to approach cure, informed of our plan action like visiting the pharmacist and making a follow-up appointment to discuss how deal with or prevent future outbreaks. I believe if the communication between myself and my doctor is vague about going to the pharmacy or making other appointments; or failing to have the nursing assistant gave me precise  instructions noted in my records. This allows  their receptionist staff to help me schedule an appointment and insure I acquired my medication from the pharmacist. When I tried to tell the reception area I wasn’t certain how to proceed after my examination, they won’t looked at me puzzled at me,  thinking, “didn’t the doctor or her nurse give you that information already”?.

Of course The Lollipop is a metaphor for good and reasonable service when visiting a medical facility, I’ve done the back to back shifts in hospital wards full of patients, fully confident I’d be able to help All my patients, sadly by hour 16 my energy began flagging, and I was more concerned about finishing the additional 8 hours than serving my patients. Some facilities used ,to chart or secretly mark P.I.A. (Pain In The A_ _) on certain patients charts, if patients complain about their treatment or ask for some resolutions to their concerns, but calling a patient a rude or prerogative nickname can be considered libelous or violating patient rights. Getting a label as a bad patient usually doesn’t extend into patient care, but sometimes the there becomes a passive – aggressive attitude toward that person, and they can even become the source of derision,  sabotage,or needless banter.

I’m sending my care providers a copy of the William Hurt medical drama “The Doctor”, about a high profile surgeon who contracts cancer and becomes shocked, when he receives substandard treatment as a regular patient: misdiagnosis, given the wrong treatment regiments, left languishing on gurneys between testing, and talked to in a rude or condescending manner by help staff he formerly supervised. The problems aren’t as egregious as in the 1971 George C. Scott movie “The Hospital”, where  by staff causes constant harm to patients, who murderously strike back by misdiagnosing and wrongly charting staff selected to be mistaken for patients. Also I love this edifying historical and positive movie, about a gifted dedicated person willing to allow others to take credit for his medical genius, Something The Lord Made *  (movie below);is the description Dr. Alfred Blalock of Johns Hopkins, attributes to his Black surgical technician Vivian Thomas’  miraculous life saving inventions, for the cure of Blue Baby Syndrome.

So the Lollipop is that good feeling when patients believe they have been treated fairly, by medical staff that are caring thoughtful and informative, who relieve patients suffering and make them feel safe and secure. Not only do patients then feel positive should they have to reschedule a return visit, they will be confident their concerns will be professionally and helpfully addressed, and some youngster involved or watching these healing interactions may someday decide to  embrace the noble careers of Medical Assistance and Health Care.

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My favorite Medical Drama is  Kurosawa’s  1965  masterpiece Red Beard (on HULU+/Criterion) about a famous country doctor in 1825, mentoring a young imperial (Trailer) court doctor, who had been groomed for the highest honors but finds he has much more to learn.

Also a Sleeper I faithfully viewed on HULU was a 52 part Korean Television series called The Horse Doctor: The life of a Joseon-era low-class veterinarian raising to become The King’s  Personal Physician, but he is fought at every step of the way because he is an extraordinary talented doctor able to do surgery at a time when Traditional Korean  Medicine used standard potions and acupuncture, and invasive cutting surgery is unheard of and heretical.

* MOVIE: Something The Lord Has Made, story of Vivien Thomas

 The Hippocratic Oath Today

Some Established Healthcare Model Programs Which Effectively Serve Their Patients

Seattle’s Country Doctor A Positive Community Health Care Center Which Efficiently Serves It’s Community: http://www.countrydoctor.org/

Seattle Indian Health Board is a longtime admirable Community Health Institution: http://www.sihb.org/

45th Street Clinic in Seattle’s Wallingford District:medical, dental, and Street Kid’s Advocacy healthcare providers: http://www.neighborcare.org/clinics/neighborcare-health-45th-street

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