Thursday, February 18, 2010

CODE BLUE: Dr. Judgmental Jones Forgot The Hippocratic Oath

I am FIRED up.

I just received an e-mail from a friend of mine with the following letter from Dr. Starner Jones that according to Snopes is real and has been published several times:


Dear Mr. President: 
        During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had   the  pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone. 
       While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that   her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. 
       And, you and our Congress expect  me to pay for this woman's health care?  I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is  not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses.  Rather, it is the result of a "crisis  of culture,"  a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on  luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.  It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me." 
       Once you fix this  "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear. 
       Respectfully, 
       STARNER JONES,  MD


Are you kidding me?

Here's my reply to the above drivel:

Dear President Obama and Dr. Jones,

What if I went to the ER where Dr. Jones works?  He would see my expensive dental restoration work, he would see my iPhone and if it rang hear that it has a ringtone, he would see my expensive athletic shoes, see my expensive purse and have someone whisper in his ear that I drove there in a luxury car.  Then he would see that I only had catastrophic insurance coverage with an insanely high deductible; he would assume that he would have a hard time collecting payment from me and probably that hat I wouldn't pay at all.

During his examination of me, which at this point with all of these assumptions about me I doubt he would be focusing on my health but more about how he was going to get paid and how dare I have these "luxuries" and not be able to pay him immediately.  He would learn that I spend an inordinate amount of money on alternative methods of healthcare.  He would be baffled at why I would make that choice instead of spending $400+ a month on a better insurance policy.

What he wouldn't know, because it's none of his business but more importantly because healthcare workers should be focused on the health of their patients not busy making assumptions, is that:

1.  I chose to spend a lot of money to remove the mercury fillings in my mouth because the mercury was leaking and I decided that it would be better for my long term health and that I paid for and did the work over a two year time span;

2.  I was able to sell my old cellphone for the same amount as my new one - no money spent and that ringtone?  I purchased it with a gift certificate;

3.  I only purchase one pair of shoes a year, the expensive athletic shoes you see on my feet, unless I get them as a gift and between them and the flip-flops that I bought at factory outlet 4 years ago are they only shoes I wear 99.9% of the time;

4.  I purchased my expensive purse used from e-bay for $12;

5.  My car is 11 years old and it was purchased used.  It was purchased primarily for the fact that it gets 28 miles to a gallon in the city and 36+ on the highway, the fact that the safety ratings are spectacular was another factor and hopefully keeps me out of the ER in an accident;

6.  I would prefer to stay away from healthcare workers like Dr. Jones, so I try to heal myself at home;

7.  I had that $400 a month policy; shockingly it hardly paid for anything, it was health insurance in name only, and I still got the pleasure of dealing with healthcare workers such as Dr. Jones.  


Dr. Jones, you might want to reacquaint yourself with the Hippocratic Oath, you are probably too busy judging your patients so I will highlight the areas which appear to be a problem:

".. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug."

"...I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know."

"...this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God."

"...I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick."

"...May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help."

Respectfully,
GreenInOC, Human
Orange County, CA

For me, I hope that I never end up under the care of judgmental healthcare workers like Dr. Jones.

The old adage about assumptions rings true...

How does the Dr. know that these items weren't paid for in a more financially secure time?  Why does the doctor not assume that these items may have been bartered for, gifts given or in exchange for payment of a service or goods rendered?  How presumptuous to define someone else's values.

The person can afford cigarettes, beer and pretzels.  Doesn't that say more about society as a whole?  We continue to support the fact that poor quality, high priced foods are the foods that are abundantly available in financially depressed communities?

Doesn't this whole situation say more about our society as a whole?  We live in a country where racism is institutionalized and that seems okay with us?

I am fired up!

6 comments:

  1. Excellent point. I have gotten flack from people for having medicaid for my kids. Their assumptions can be downright stupid sometimes. The nice purse , I made it from last winters jacket , my nice shoes I traded a years worth or used baby clothes for it.

    Sometimes I just wonder WTF is wrong w/ people.
    Its not like they treat you any better if you had ragged teeth , hand-sewn clothing & dirt under your nails. They would have near the same attitude.

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  2. Less Taken,

    Oh I love that statement about how they wouldn't treat you better with ragged teeth, etc...!

    My eye rolling was in full swing when I was a kid and my Mom would say "Assumptions make an as out of you" - she never said it the "right" way but actually I think it's more accurate as she said it - turns out she was right!

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  3. I love your response to the Doctor! Wow. You are clearly super passionate about this topic. I saw your comment at Pioneer Woman tonight and I came over to say hi : )

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  4. Thanks for that post. I liked it a lot - because it shows exactly what I think about the situation going on in the US. And it showed me another picture than the always moaning "I don't want to pay for you"-us-americans I know.

    Thanks :)

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  5. He also may have violated HIPPA. Among other things. Which I noted: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2010/09/mds-hypocritical-oath-in-action.html

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  6. Oh I do love non-judgemental liberals

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