I was making a doctors appointment recently and the receptionist informed me that I had not seen my physician since 2008 and wanted to know if I was a new patient again. I had said no, it’s just I seem to get stuck with a nurse practitioner and not my doctor. She began to tell me I had to see the doctor if I did not want to be a “new patient.” I sort of chuckled and said, “Great, then make me an appointment for my family doctor please and not the nurse practitioner.” The receptionist said, “Yes good idea to get in and see your doctor. So shall I make you an appointment for the nurse practitioner?” This got me thinking…
Once upon a time ago doctors were really doctors. Really I kid you not. Way back in the 50’s and 60’s there were no nurse practitioners taking the load off the doctors. In fact nurses where the ones that took your temp and blood pressure and asked most the questions so your doctor could spend quality time with you. I know it is hard to believe but I am speaking the truth.
Today I call doctors docbots, meaning they are simply robots for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. On the average a doctor spends about 7 minutes with each patient. They quickly look at your chart, give you a few minutes to state your case, and then they pull out their prescription pads. I am sure doctors suffer from carpel tunnel from writing out so many prescriptions.
Back in the 50’s a doctor used to make house calls. That’s right; it wasn’t just something on TV, these caring souls believed in medicine and their patients. Those house calls by the way would run you about $7 but you would get a full exam and an injection if needed.
For those who did not need house calls the average doctor’s visit ran about Office visits were $5 each and a lab culture was about $3. Something like a fluoroscope or a barium enema might cost $35 or $40, today that same procedure will cost thousands of dollars.
Modern medicine has changed. I suppose that is why some hospitals can charge $1,000 for a toothbrush and $140 for a single Tylenol. However, more people are surviving terminal illness, heart attacks and traumas. The truth is today people are given the opportunity to live longer— well if you have the money.
I think that is the difference between medical care back then and medical care today. It isn’t about people as much as money. In the good old days, if you were sick, the doctor gave you an injection in your butt and you were sent on your way. How many of you remember getting those shots in your behind? Yes they stung, but they really worked well and you were feeling better by the next day.
Today if you have a sore throat you can count on having lab tests which can cost up to $500 just to see if you have strep throat and then are given prescriptions for antibiotics that oftentimes require a “second round.”
More doctors are leaving their professionals because they, like me, miss the personal touch they were once allowed to use in the good old days. They no longer want to be controlled by insurance companies. Many of them turn to research, teach or go into early retirement. I can’t say I blame them. I miss the personal care doctors once upon a time ago gave to their patients. I miss having to bend over and get a shot in my butt knowing I would feel better the next day. I miss being able to pay out of pocket for a simple visit. Even when I was in my 20’s and 30’s I could still pay the $45 bucks it cost to see the doctor. Today a co-pay is that much.
Indeed, there used to be a time when doctors were doctors and not docbots. My hats off to the doctors who made house calls and gave people that personal care. My hat is off to those doctors who still offer that personal care and see us as people not a paycheck. I also tilt my hat to the assembly line doctors of today who make sure we live longer, of course at a cost, but gosh darn it, we live longer!