Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Arnold Kling blogs personally and poignantly about his frustrations with the healthcare system

What I want for my father is the best possible combination of dignity, lucidity, and absence of pain. The operative word is possible, because what is attainable is limited. Moreover, there are trade-offs among these goals.

But what you deal with are people who are doing their job. For example, the cardiologist's job is to make sure his heart does not give out, even if it means he lies on his back for so long that the prospects for restoring diginity recede. Everyone wants to shunt him around, giving him more Hansonian medicine, which detracts from his ability to remain lucid.

For the larger goal of trying to do the best with his remaining life, nobody is in charge and nobody is empowered. Particularly in that big hospital. I'll probably be back there soon, but I don't know what medical decisions would best serve our goals and I don't know how to get the system to work for us.
My mom has had plenty of health issues, and I feel similarly to Arnold. I'd like folks to step back and see the bigger picture, but they get paid to focus in narrowly, and they get paid in such an intermediated way that there are all these invisible interests between the families of the sick and the health service providers.

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