Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Monday, March 07, 2005

Medical Care and Restaurants

Is health care analagous to eating at a restaurant.

Andy Stedman says yes, and noted that you rarely waited for hours for your food. I wasn't so sure, pointing out a lot depended on the quality of the restaurant.

Reader JB sums up the typical physician's view:

Let's take the hospital/McDonalds analogy a little further. This McD has to be
prepared to serve just about any meal on an "emergency" basis, 24/7, whether a
bag of fries, Lobster Newburg, kosher, vegan, or macrobiotic. There are highly
trained experts available at all hours, tasked with figuring out if you are
hungry for a snack, a drink, Happy Meal, or Big Mac, and if they are wrong, it
could end their career. . . . There's a law that says that anyone
who shows up hungry has to be fed first, then asked if he has any intention of
paying, and maybe he pays and usually he doesn't. There may be a third party
that pays a part of the bill, but not for several weekes or months. Every
customer has a lawyer available if he gets a bellyache after his (free) meal.

I think the problem with the U.S. health care system is that everyone wants Charlie Trotter quality with McDonald's convenience and pricing.

I have spent many hours moonlighting in both a pediatric ED and covering weekends for a pediatric practice (and have spent 6 hours waiting with my daughter for an X-ray during the height of flu season). One big part of the problem is how many kids go inappropriately to the ED.

When moonlighting for the practice, I would see 15-25 kids per day in the office and maybe, maybe send 1 to the ED.


At 7:07 PM, Blogger Brother Roy said...



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