Last year I heard a commencement speaker tell the graduates not to be afraid to ask the stupid question. He then shared how a reporter, by asking that stupid question, won a Pulitzer Prize for an article inspired by the response to a stupid question.
Many times I have felt that to question the unavailability of alternative healthcare options was not only perceived as stupid, but also tended to isolate me from those with differing views. Based upon recent information about healthcare procedures and practices by the medical fraternity, maybe my concerns are not stupid. At least that’s what new studies are indicating.
Recently, the media has published two articles – “Americans get too much healthcare, their docs say,” by Frederik Joelving and “Much U.S. health care is unnecessary, say many primary-care doctors,” by Susan Perry. These articles were based on reports from a survey published September 26th in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Joelving’s opening comment in his article was, “Here is a diagnosis of what’s wrong with health care in America, straight from the horse’s mouth: There’s too much.” In the article, Joelving related the incident of the man with a morphine pump as told by his physician, Dr. Bale. Dr. Bale recounted that his patient had an intractable pain after falling on an icy driveway. The patient had several tests at the hospital, but these tests revealed nothing. During these procedures, the man’s wife keep telling the doctors that her husband had a morphine pump in his back to treat chronic pain and that he’d fallen on the pump. But no one listened.
Dr. Bale’s prescription? Listen to your patient.
It appears past time for healthcare providers to start listening to the patient. Allow the individual seeking health care to use and explore alternative methods without labeling him stupid because it doesn’t fit someone’s preconceived system, however well intended. One very underrated system of health care is the use of prayer and spirituality. Recent surveys reveal that 70% of patients pray about their health and 99% of the physicians believe in the healing power of prayer. Yet, the federal government doesn’t appear to be listening. Currently, the approved benefit list does not include alternatives such as spiritual care as an option in the mandated insurance policies beginning 2014.
Is anyone listening? It’s not a stupid question.