I am a family physician trained in the American medical system. My medical school education was at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and for residency I trained at a University of Texas program in Houston. At both institutions, I was exposed to world class teachers and hospitals. For example, during residency I was fortunate to spend a month at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. There I learned a tremendous amount about the care of patients with cancer but more than that I witnessed compassionate care of the very sick and dying. In these settings, I saw much that was wonderful about health care in the United States and came to believe that it was the best in the world. Later travels around the world did little to dispel that notion. In medical school and residency we were taught “evidence based medicine” which relies on rigorous scientific studies and analysis. Our training programs were standardized and closely monitored, and students were held to very high standards. My fellow students and I worked 80 + hour weeks and were constantly learning in an apprentice based system.
So now you are beginning to think that the title of this post was simply a ploy to rope you into reading a glorification of our current system … and you would be way wrong. Our system doesn’t simply need to be fixed. It needs a total makeover. The current prevailing medical system is on course to bankrupt our country in the near future. And for what are we mortgaging our future? For one thing, we are spending a fortune on the care of chronic disease which more often than not is leading to a reduced quality of life. Next week, starting on Monday, I’ll go over what’s wrong and my thoughts on how to fix it.