Too Much Healthcare?

Here is a great article from an ER doc.   His name is Thomas Doyle MD and he has a book coming out called “Suck It Up, America: The Tough Choices Needed for Real Health-Care Reform”.   I highly recommend you read the linked piece but he hits a lot of great points.  Here is a quick summary:

  • Healthcare costs too much in our country because we deliver too much healthcare. We deliver too much because we demand too much. And we demand it for all the wrong reasons. We’re turning into a nation of anxious wimps.
  • In a single night I had patients come in for the following complaints (all brought by ambulance):  “Smoked marijuana and got dizzy”, “stung by a bee and it hurts”, “got drunk and have a hangover”, “sat out in the sun and got sunburn”, “ate Mexican food and threw up”, “picked my nose and it bled, but now it stopped”, “just had sex and want to know if I’m pregnant.”
  • Our society has warped our perception of true risk. We are taught to fear vaccinations, mold, shark attacks, airplanes and breast implants when we really should worry about smoking, drug abuse, obesity, cars and lack of basic hygiene.
  • Somehow we have developed an expectation that our health should always be perfect.  We demand unnecessary diagnostic testing, antibiotics for our viruses, narcotics for bruises and sprains. And due to time constraints on physicians, fear of lawsuits and the pressure to keep patients satisfied, we usually get them.
  • The bottom line is that most conditions are self-limited.   “Our best medicines are Tincture of Time and Elixir of Neglect.”
  • There is tremendous financial pressure on physicians to keep patients happy. But unlike business, in medicine the customer isn’t always right. Sometimes a doctor needs to show tough love and deny patients the quick fix. A good physician needs to have the guts to stand up to people and tell them that their babies gets ear infections because they smoke cigarettes. That it’s time to admit they are alcoholics. That they need to suck it up and deal with discomfort because narcotics will just make everything worse. That what’s really wrong with them is that they are just too damned fat.  Unfortunately, this type of advice rarely leads to high patient satisfaction scores.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “Too Much Healthcare?

  1. Dave F
    January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Add another AMEN…
    A great article by a really good ED doc…had the pleasure of working with him when I was a resident. I loved the article when it came out in EP Monthly, and definitely want to check out the book too…

  2. John Difini, MD
    January 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    It is available now on amazon–just ordered it.

  3. Ricky D
    January 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I’m not fat I am under tall, and the cigerettes calm my nerves, and I just cant live without my vicodin cuz my carple tunnel acts up when I drink beer, and I tried my neighbors pain pills and they were better than mine so i need them too.

  4. marc binard
    January 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Amen Amen Amen.

  5. Lisa Gwin
    January 11, 2012 at 7:39 am


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