Medicine is, and will always be, one of the most hot-button topics in politics. Just look at the current arguments over the Affordable Care Act. To some people, it’s the godsend they’ve been looking for. To others, it threatens to bankrupt the country. But the truth is that we are failed in healthcare in a lot more ways than access. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the most common failings that more of us should be aware of.
Malpractice, a more common problem than you think
When our healthcare providers fail to provide the level of care necessary to maintain our safety, that is malpractice. It’s a concern that’s in the news a lot nowadays, but the truth is that it could be in the news a lot more. The fact is that most people claiming malpractice, even when in the right, have a problem in the courts. Proof can be hard to obtain when our healthcare providers are in charge of our records. Names are dragged through the mud during legal battles and private lawsuits are expensive. To put it simply, the odds are tipped way in favor of those committing malpractice, not the victims of it.
We don’t look after our most vulnerable
It’s an unfortunate reality that those of us of need most care are the most vulnerable to people who would take advantage of that. Abuse in our institutions for those vulnerable people is not a problem on a small scale. It’s a problem on a national level. A survey of residents of nursing homes shows that up to 44% have been victims of abuse or neglect. 95% have seen another resident neglected. The truth is that regulators of our nursing and care homes fail to perceive abuse. It’s most often up to private citizens and assistance like a nursing home neglect lawyer to bring justice into the matter.
What’s in your medication?
The unethical behavior of Big Pharma companies is a laundry list that could get several articles all on its own right. Taking advantage of patent laws to allow monopolies and intimidation of federal services, for one. These sins can make them seem more like organized crime families than healthcare industry members. But the worst of all their sins is the frequency with which harmful drugs are released on the markets. Drugs that have side-effects that aren’t listed. Drugs that can impact the lives and cause serious harm to those prescribed with that medicine. When patients are prescribed with new medication, they need to look at warnings and recalls. If they suffer from the negative effects of these drugs, often their only recourse is to join class action lawsuits.
Too much spending
The inequality of treatment availability in the nation is well-known, by now. At the same time, we see higher rates of spending than the other 12 highest-income nations of the world. There is a disconnect between the amount of money spent on healthcare and the emergence of improvements that help the average person. For instance, in the US, spending per person is around $9,086 and life expectancy is at 78.8 years. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, spending is at $6,325 per person and life expectancy is 82.9 years. The system we operate on sees higher costs for lower qualities of treatment and education. To truly address the failings in the healthcare system, we need to look closer at where this money is going and what we get in return.
Not enough treatment
A big cause for the nation’s poor healthcare is the price on treatment as it stands. It is still a barrier to effective treatment for so many people that it may as well not be available to them at all. To take only one element of healthcare into account, just look at mental health issues. Mental health can already be a problematic area because patients are afraid of being stigmatized. Particularly when they admit their conditions and seek treatment. But that’s not enough of a problem to cause more than 60% to forego getting treatment. The cause of that horrifying statistic is all down to the price of treatment. Given that over 50% of us will suffer from mental health problems in our adult lives, this is not a status quo we can live with.
We’re not doing enough to fight chronic conditions
Mental health also has a lot to do with the environment that we are born into, raised in and living in. The same goes for so many of the common chronic conditions. These chronic conditions are amongst some of the most damaging and fatal that we face. Advances in medicine can only do so much to fight things like heart disease and diabetes. The future answer lies in education. We need to be concentrating more effort in fighting risk factors like obesity and smoking. Otherwise, we will have to live with these chronic conditions. And the shadow they cast over our healthcare.
Too many mistakes are being made
We’re not here to say that all our woes are because of health care professionals. They are being failed just as much as the standard population is. Modern medical errors are so high because a lot of healthcare professionals lack the support they need to provide the best care they can. Healthcare is driven by incentives of profit and fulfilling quotas. This leads to unnecessary treatments and demands that stretch out healthcare providers thin. It raises costs and leads to more reckless treatment. Doctors are forced to ration out treatment, that is, to deny it when it’s needed. Until we look at the support systems behind our healthcare, we will only see these errors keep piling up.
We are failing in our healthcare systems. In giving access to healthcare, in taking care of our institutions and looking after the most vulnerable with us. Healthcare has become so politicized that it’s a partisan position more than anything. We need to be aware of the real troubles plaguing our system so we can start looking at real solutions.