I don’t know how it is where you live, but I am put out, put off, disappointed in, disturbed by, and disillusioned with health care in our area. I have lost two friends this year, due to negligent care. Both had serious medical issues. In one case, they couldn’t get the doctor’s office to return their phone calls for follow-up care that was needed. She died waiting for the doctor to call back. In the other case, the doctor passed it off as an ongoing heart problem, without looking further to find that the real issue was the liver. I’m not a doctor, but yellow eyes would have been a clue to me that something was up with the liver!

Two of my daughters have had serious medical problems as well. One of them tried for weeks to see her primary care doctor, going so far as to stage a sit-in in his office to try to see him. She was in pain. Her foot had turned purple up to her leg, was ice cold, and painful. She couldn’t walk on it. He ordered tests without looking at her, had his nurse call with “normal” results and passed her off. Through her perseverance, and NO help from her physician, she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a diagnosis if left untreated, spreads to other limbs. It took nearly a month of calling doctors, visiting the ER, and staying on top of things until she got a diagnosis and treatment.

The other daughter has seen 6 doctors, two of whom are specialists, to try and diagnose what is wrong with her eyes. The pressure in them is excessive, plus they have an overabundance of white blood cells in them. One specialist went so far as to say that he doesn’t know what is causing it, only that it can’t be good, so let’s try to keep your symptoms under control. Three years of steroid drops later, she is getting worse daily, and losing vision. She now has holes in her vision.

My medical insurance wouldn’t approve an MRI, or rotator cuff surgery, until I had gone through physical therapy. I couldn’t complete the P.T., due to the pain. It was weeks before I was finally able to get my primary care physician to order the MRI. She told me she would put in an urgent request for it. A week later I had to call the office to remind them that she was supposed to set that up. My pharmacy called her office twice and faxed it once to get permission to renew a prescription. I called the office again to say that the doctor had told me she would have my prescriptions sent electronically, so that when I needed them they would be ready for the pharmacy to fill. By this time, I was irritated, but I was nice when I called. A few weeks later, I received a letter from the doctor telling me to find another doctor…outside of their group. I had been fired!

As it turned out, it was the best medicine for me, because I found a doctor who is independent of a group. He is thorough, approachable, and caring. I do believe that I can trust what he tells me. He found the cause and a solution. There are many reputable doctors in our area. I have a top- notch orthopedic surgeon, and two other excellent physicians. I’m sure there are others. However, I have personally had more doctors who treat symptoms rather than cause. I could continue to cite examples of personal experiences, and those of people I have talked to.

There are lots of people talking about the state of our health care! The point is, “we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto!” Gone are the days when we could completely rely on what our physician told us. Long past is the time that we can take their word for everything. The time has come that we must take our health care in our own hands. If we aren’t getting satisfactory answers, we need to do our own research. We must be persistent in finding diagnosis and remedies.

What’s the problem with health care in the U.S.? Are there too many people and too few physicians? Are the insurance companies to blame? Is it because the doctors are so regulated by insurance companies, and so threatened with malpractice, that they are afraid to practice medicine? Are their hands so tightly tied with red tape that they can’t be healers anymore? One thing is for certain, it’s getting worse. This isn’t health care! How can you treat something when you don’t know what is causing it? Way too many deaths can be accounted for, using this type of reasoning. And do you know what? We put up with it.

What can we do to change things? Our current administration has made lots of promises to us. How can he fix or change a mindset? We must take control of our own health care. We can no longer expect anyone else to do it for us. We must not accept a diagnosis or misdiagnosis. We shouldn’t self-diagnose, but we should be pro-active in our diagnosis and care. Our lives depend on it.

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