Federal Pain Management - Healthcare is a Racket

Federal Pain Management - Healthcare is a Racket
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Federal Pain Management

by Tom C. Purcell


Modern American healthcare is a racket.  Essentially, it's a pyramid scheme with mega pharmaceutical corporations at the top, and ailing Americans with a direct syphon from their bank accounts to medical corporations at the bottom.  Like many others, I've been especially privy to this devolution because from the early 1980s all the way through to present day I've had to see a variety of doctors, as a child for asthma-related issues in the desert-city of Phoenix, for sports injuries and checkups as a teen and young adult, and as an adult for neurological dysfunction and chronic pain.  It is the neurological issues that have been the greatest challenge for me and my doctors.


In 1982 doctors were committed to solving the problem.  It was not easy to earn their credentials in the 20th century, and they were dedicated to improving the health of their patients.  In 2018, doctors use databases and checklists to determine the most profitable pharmaceutical they can prescribe, if not the most federally acceptable one.  In 1982, doctors could do anything they asked their nurses and assistants to do and way beyond.  In 2018 most doctors wouldn't dare draw blood or administer any sort of physical test or actual treatment.  They would risk being sued for malpractice and since they have letters after their name, they shouldn't be challenged or expected to earn their keep doing actual work.  They're royalty.  So doctors in 2018 refer you to six other outlets who can also get into your pockets, but probably won't help much.  And to boot, each medical outlet will gouge insurance companies and this further perpetuates the healthcare racket.


In 1982, America had decent 'healthcare'.  By 2002, healthcare in America became an industry and now in 2018, American healthcare is an absolute racket.  Those who didn't need pain relief were fed opioids and those who need pain relief can't get needed analgesics because so many doctors, led by Big Pharma, and patients for various reasons have abused these drugs.   Now, like our politics, our government, our economy and our society itself, healthcare is inside out, upside down and sideways.


I could write a detailed text for future would-be Nobel Prize Neurologists to study.  I'll start with a brief chronicle of my health issues and corresponding failures by today's preprogrammed, federally-approved bots we refer to as 'doctors'.  Maybe there are still good doctors in the U.S., somewhere, and no disrespect to those who deserve to have 'M.D.' after their name.  Well if there are some doctors out there who actually can and will attempt to solve problems instead of acting as robotic salesmen for pharmaceutical companies, please read on, feel free to inquire further in the comments and provide informed feedback.


As a child with asthma-like issues (thanks for roomfuls of cigarette smoke, Mom and others) my doctors not only had a virtue called 'bedside manner', but they listened and asked thoughtful questions, they took vitals themselves, asked how nights went, how I felt when I tried doing this or that, what the home was like, if we had animals or lived rural, many educated questions.  Doctors would also give guidance and advice for how to go about your life under the current treatment, how to pace your days, what's best to eat or drink, if sunshine or exercise is recommended or not, and so on.


As an adult with chronic pain and muscle spasms, essential tremor, numbness, tingling and migraine headaches among other accompanying issues, doctors first send you for bloodwork and imaging, then hurry to explain things that make them sound smart.  If a red flag isn't waiving in the results from tests that other people have performed, they are generally dismissive because before you even got there they had made a decision not to get involved with any sort of pain management, minus a broken neck or something severe like that.  Pain management is avoidable for doctors because the feds are surveying the resident opioid crisis in the U.S.  That's right, the U.S. Federal Government is managing your pain.  Doctors don't want federal attention.  In most cases doctors just want an easy day's work, a private parking spot, a house with a view...



If something doesn't present itself in a blood test or CT scan then today's doctors make the assumption that you are either faking or imagining symptoms.  Even though it's clear that I'm developing a limp from sciatica, that there is a major, testable difference in strength and feeling between my left and right side, that nearly all of the joints in my skeleton audibly pop, my most recent Neurologist has made the decision to not treat my pain anymore.  The fact that I'm honest about using cannabis (with a medical card) for these musculoskeletal symptoms results in a hindrance to my treatment because based on federal guidelines, my doctor can't and won't prescribe analgesics as long as I'm using medical cannabis products.  The fact is I don't desire opioids, or any dangerous, addictive drug.  But I don't desire jaw-clenching, chronic pain and unwanted muscle activity either.



So the state of Oregon is living in one reality, and the Federal Government in another.  That puts the patient (me) squarely in medical purgatory.  Healthcare in America is a racket.  It's a money vacuum.  I've spent ridiculous dollars on medications like Lyrica, Lamictal, Gabapentin, and at least a half dozen others and actually, not only are opioids proven pain medications but they're also hundreds of dollars cheaper than drugs like Lyrica.  Doctors get paid, pharmaceutical companies and their investors collect big while nurses, phlebotomists and imaging technicians do all of the work, and patients are kept on a variety of medications that usually end up reducing their quality of life as much or more than any treatment the costly pills can provide.


So onward we go in this Orwellian transition, with our health in federal hands, with the Federal Government in charge of our doctors and for that matter almost everything that goes into your bloodstream as well.


Donna Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:10pm
4 years of nothing but tests upon tests, sent from 1 specialist to another. As you said all say the same, well the test showed nothing, lets try this one! I am not a test dummy,for them to TRY this, and so forth. i so miss the day's when My Dr. could actually treat me, most of the good ones are now retired, or have left due to all the BS they have to deal with. I went holistic, being a witch, i had some connections, this was the only way for me to even attempt to gain my health back. I am still not back to being a healthy gal. Have been told, i caught most before it hit a bad stage, however not all.  So it may be a major battle, but i am on no meds, pain, is tolerable, if i keep the correct edibles on hand..
Sad to say, i have left standard medicine for exactly what you state above, lack of care, lack of concern, except for the all mighty $$$. Which we know rules this whole damn society. Good article Tom..)0(
Neil Lock Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:16pm
Nice article, Tom. Why should anyone - federal, state or even local - have a right to dictate what medications you may or may not take?
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:16pm
Thanks, Donna!  I knew you could relate, because we've talked about similar stuff before.  I bet far too many Americans can relate, right?
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:20pm
"Why should anyone - federal, state or even local - have a right to dictate what medications you may or may not take?"
Neil, exactly.  Enough said.  I mean, accept for medications that could interact hazardously, right?  Ya feel like saying, "I didn't ask for a moral coach or preemptive addiction treatment, it just hurts can you help or not?"
Dino Manalis Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:40pm
Pain has to be managed by doctors with medicine and other treatments  to treat their patients
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:42pm
LOL.  Brilliant, Dino, genius.
Donna Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:43pm
The Gent, goes through this all the time. He was born with a curved spine. He is his own boss, owns a barber shop, stands in one place all day. Never asked for pain meds. Just how to do this with out taking advil all day. Sent to special Dr. who stated in the paperwork, this is not a condition that can be corrected in any way, it is a birth defect. Best advice from him, was a 25 mg of pain med twice a day.His ins. company said no. Too many already on opiates. So he suffers in pain, as in NY, he can not get e medical card for weed. Catch 22, no Dr. wants to give you one, yet it is all geared for pain..
So i have become a resident baker for lots of older folks, and those who can not get cards..I guess it is time we take lots of things in this world out of the hands of those who have been in control! 
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 2:01pm
Agreed, Donna.  Starting with the D.C. elite and reigning in the powers of the mega-rich types and Zionists that lobby for special interests from the national to county levels and beyond.
George N Romey Added Feb 20, 2018 - 3:01pm
Good article Tom. I truly believe that a lot of the pain is the result of high stress levels as our economy continues to benefit fewer and fewer. So they go to an overworked and under resourced doctor that is encouraged to simply write a script. Patient feels better (although he/she is still screwed financially) and there comes the addiction.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 3:08pm
Thanks, George.  Stress/anxiety are major factors.  Pain and anxiety are intertwined, one exacerbates the other and it's a vicious cycle.  I'm not normally irritable, I mean it's not my personality to be.  But a few nights and days of constant pain and fatigue can put anyone on edge.  It's a tough carousel to get off of and frankly, I don't think the powers that be want to help but rather prefer to profit.  Sheer capitalism at work, really.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 20, 2018 - 4:16pm
"So onward we go in this Orwellian transition, with our health in federal hands, with the Federal Government in charge of our doctors and for that matter almost everything that goes into your bloodstream as well."
It seems that all big social programs are losers: New Deal, Great Society, EPA, HUD, O'Bozo care.
Socialism in yer face.............
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 4:20pm
LOL "O'Bozo care".  Heh, Osamacare might have been smarter, albeit less humane.  But yes, I agree that such vast governmental oversight is not only a problem, but like most applications of Socialism it also insults our individual intelligences and slows progress.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 20, 2018 - 4:45pm
"it also insults our individual intelligences and slows progress."
Have to agree here 100% or so. Socialism is a reflexive response to capitalism where only the talented or elite can work the levers at the top of  the pyramid. Socialism has never shown much interest in education other than the propaganda and political instruction sides. 
Socialism implies that everybody should be approximately equivalent in resources and spendable income, which is diametrically opposed to the ladder system of capitalism. Such a system tends to put incompetents in control of key programs from political areas and not for their intrinsic talent, e.g. USSR, PRC, etc. 
Governments cannot run industries and services with efficiency [O'Bozo Care is a great example] because they put incompetents in charge.
WE need lower taxes and fewer regulations so we can do for ourselves what government purports to be doing, and failing. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 5:08pm
I generally agree with your comments, especially to Socialism in general.  But as to capitalism, besides deregulation how do we fix our top-heavy socioeconomic and corrupt governmental situations?  I guess that's where the phrase "drain the swamp" is born.  Sometimes you just have to wipe the slate clean by wiping the bureaucratic, elite state clean.  From rumors I've heard there are just two to three dozen heavyweights that pull most of the strings in Washington.  I can't name thee and I can't confirm or deny the assertion but if it's true, there's the diseased tree that's corrupting the entire orchard.
Katharine Otto Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:24pm
I agree it's a racket, but you need to add the insurance companies to your list of profiteers.  And the government.  I don't believe in drug laws, myself.  As Neil Lock notes above, who has the right to come between you and your body?  Doctors should provide education and advice, but should not be drug pushers for the state or for pharma.  They should not have to make the decision about whether you can have opioids for your pain.
I believe alternative treatments, like massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture can be very helpful with musculoskeletal problems.  When muscle fights bone, as with chronically tight muscles that lead to sciatica, muscle wins.  That's why stretching and breathing exercises, like yoga, can also be beneficial.  
The insurance industry not only raises costs at every level of the system, but it has socially engineered most everyone into the restrictive, mechanistic allopathic model of medicine, and has diverted attention and money from other healing methods that have long histories and utility.  If you live in Oregon, you probably have good alternative practitioners there.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:43pm
Gee, Purcell...if I thought you were a human being, I'd almost feel sorry for you, but since you are Nazi Tom and have smeared me in a conversation about alternative medicines and effectively ended the conversation, I hope you hurt more and it becomes unbearable.  You, personally, must bear the social responsibility for all those good, white junkie coal miners and steel workers by being denied treatment.  KO hit the nail on the head: If you live in Oregon, you probably have good alternative practitioners there.



Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:52pm
Very thoughtful, educated comments.  Thanks!  
I've tried all of those treatments except for yoga and acupuncture.  Acupuncture interests me.  But alternative treatments add up very fast too, especially when the condition is so chronic.  That's what happened the last time I committed to an all inclusive treatment plan involving chiropractic alignment, massage, guided physical therapy, traction, electrotherapy and all the what-nots.  The next thing I knew I didn't have enough money for rent.  A lot of that plan was helpful but I can't afford to spend so much time and money on healthcare and still make ends meet.
The 'allopathic model' is a new phrase to me.
"If you live in Oregon, you probably have good alternative practitioners there."
Yes, Oregon is full of quackery and bizarre methodology.  ;)
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:55pm
Michka the Feuder, your comments are swinish as usual.  Go back to your puddle of potato vodka.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 20, 2018 - 7:08pm
Fuck off, Tom.  Must really grate when your new kid howls and cries can't be consoled, and you're hurting.  LOL
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 7:16pm
That comment is precisely why nobody likes a Michka.  No taste, no class, no wit, no evident redeeming qualities.
Leroy Added Feb 20, 2018 - 7:20pm
I despise going to doctors.  You're either just a widget to be processed or they think you are a faker, even if they have never seen you before.  I prefer self-diagnoses.  It's amazing how much there is out there on the web.  Doctors are generally ignorant outside their specialty and sometimes within.
My current orthopedic doctor is a refreshing change.  He's young and not too experienced.  He is a specialist to the specialists.  Once I was diagnosed with another problem, my former doctor threw up his hands and sent me to him.   He takes as much time with me as I want.  He tolerates me doing my own research and sometimes accepts it.  He would drive most patient's nuts.  He's never sure about anything and he is always consulting other doctors.  I like that.  He is trying to find a solution.  Most doctors make a diagnosis and that's it.  You don't question it.  But, as you say, Tom, doctors don't do much today.  They send you for testing and the technicians make the diagnosis and the doctor just follows it.
Great article, by the way.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 7:24pm
Thanks!  Orthopedics were my strong suit as a Vet Tech student.  I'd probably enjoy listening and learning from that doctor you mentioned.  For every one excellent doctor, there are at least ten educated idiots dispensing pills to trusting folks.
Morgoth Added Feb 20, 2018 - 8:18pm
Interesting article, Tom.  My wife has chronic pain problems, I have issues with my left shoulder.  Oklahoma is looking into medical marijuana, I’m all for it.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 8:42pm
Thanks, Jeffrey.  I hope Oklahoma gets medical cannabis passed because it can really be a Godsend when it comes to pain and muscle spasms.  Too expensive but I'm still glad for dispensaries.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 8:58pm
You are what you eat Tom. So many doctors say this on the web. You cannot eat boxed or bagged food, you need all your proteins but more important, minerals to absorb vitamins. Vegetables of all colors, oils to dilute and carry away toxins. Stay away from dairy.
  Powdered kemp helps with inflamation and is a wide spectrum mineral source. You need wide spectrum, not just a few.
  Maybe your problem is the same as many people - just a habitual bad diet. See pharmacist Ben Fuchs online, and many others. I recall a doc who got cancer then discovered the Rockefeller system (I'm sure you know of whom I speak, can't recall her name). She says nutrition. Its the one thing they don't tell you.
  I listened to alt medicine for many years on the web, I never bought a book but have heard a hundred docs say this if I have heard one.
  I eat salmon, nuts, all colors of veggies, and yogurt. I don't use sugar, I use honey. I also use cinomin and started recently to use some Indian spices. I feel even better with that.
  You should be taking a dump more than once a day, three times says your in good health.
Dave Volek Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:16pm
Nice article Tom
Yes, the health care system in the US is a mess.
And yes, sometimes it takes time to find the right diagnosis. Even our socialized health care system in Canada has its flaws.
I have a cousin who developed a neurological disease of some kind. After about a year of seeing specialists and undergoing tests, he didn't seem too far along in a treatment. He had the $$$$, so he went to Mayo Clinic. They figured out his problem in a week. The Canadian doctors were able to work with that diagnosis.
It seems strange that one visit to Mayo probably cost "the economy" less than 20 visits to Alberta doctors. We still have a lot more to learn about good health care systems. 
Hope things get straightened out for you.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 11:20pm
Fine advice - a balanced diet.  I could do better but I do pretty good.   I eat fruits and veggies, fresh proteins and wild caught fish, the occasional fruit & veggie smoothie.  Don't tell me to not eat dairy though!  ;)
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 20, 2018 - 11:22pm
Thanks!   Interesting story.  I'd love to visit top notch M.D.'s at the Mayo Clinic if it could get me some answers and relief.
opher goodwin Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:01am
Tom - excellent article. Rather mirrors my experience with the medical profession when I lived in the USA. It is run as a business. It's main aim is to make profit out of your illness and not to cure you. Indeed, curing you would dry up the profit. If you have the insurance you are a cash cow to be exploited. My three year old son developed a hernia. Our doctor gave him an examination, an injection for an ear infection, and knocked up a bill of $700 in ten minutes without addressing the hernia, that was threatening to strangulate, at all.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:12am

I generally agree with your comments, especially to Socialism in general.  But as to capitalism, besides deregulation how do we fix our top-heavy socioeconomic and corrupt governmental situations?  I guess that's where the phrase "drain the swamp" is born"
The 'top-heavy socioeconomic' observation is seen around the world and has been for 5000 years or more. There has never been a balanced socioeconomic system that was effective given that some totalitarian governments generate a crude form of 'equality' by making all below the elites poor or close to that level. 
It appears that the natural course of events in society  for the last 5000 years involves somebody at the top ruling most of the processes of society. There is no evidence that a level system can be sustained given the failed systems like USSR , NOKO, Cuba, PRC and others. 
There is no convincing reason to believe that we can ever approach equality in anything given the evidence and history. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:17am
"Rather mirrors my experience with the medical profession when I lived in the USA. It is run as a business. It's main aim is to make profit out of your illness and not to cure you. Indeed, curing you would dry up the profit."
A sour distortion of reality in the medical profession.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 21, 2018 - 10:09am
Thanks!  Yup, doctors are imperfect humans, especially with the power and the means to get into the pockets of their typically much poorer patients.  There are medical companies and professionals that prey on customers (once known as 'patients') and insurance companies.  And like Katharine said, the insurance companies have dirty hands too.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 21, 2018 - 10:14am
Geez you didn't have to be such a downer!  JK., however sad, it's mostly true.  There have been exceptions, arguably, but few that flourish for long.  The reason people focus on the possibility of a better future, of just governance and so on is because without that, there is often little if anything for folks to look forward to.  I guess even against all odds, we have to try.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 10:15am
Thanks, Tom, for a post that does describe both your own struggles and those of this nation. I also have an orthopedist who is one of the good doctors. He described to me the struggles that he has with insurance. In fact the one thing I would say about your post is that it is insurance companies that are driving the behavior of the medical community more than it is the Federal government.
Anyway, he said that he can make an obvious diagnosis about someone with a spinal problem, and determine that an individual needs a CT scan. But insurance will not accept a CT scan unless someone has gone through physical therapy first. So he has to prescribe physical therapy, wait for the person to go through the course knowing that there would be no benefit, and then and only then would the insurance pay for a CT scan. He had a bunch of similar comments.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 21, 2018 - 10:28am
Fair point about the insurance companies.  It seems that has always been, and still is a big problem.  But clinics have answered my question of "how much does one of my PT visits cost?" with, "It depends - are we billing your insurance or are you paying cash?...If you're paying out of pocket we give you a discount."  Not, "what services are you using, what machines, for which conditions?"  Just, "who and how do we get our money".  That's not right either, and they gouge insurance companies harder if that's who they're billing.
Great points, EABC, and I learned a lot having earned my degree in Veterinary Technology.  There isn't an insurance community to speak of so the clinics are aiming to save money at every clip.  It's a competitive market and when economics are tight, as they always are nowadays, people can't be expected to shell out a mortgage-sized Vet bill.  So in the veterinary world, while there are some gougers, pricing is generally more realistic and the DVM isn't mandated to send Fido through PT and unnecessary tests.  The DVM just does his/her job.   In fact, my dog was prescribed barbiturates without a CT scan.  Americans can't even get pain relief after thousands of dollars in x-rays, MRI's and CT's.  Like Mellencamp said, "Ain't that America, for you and me".
opher goodwin Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:37pm
rycK - not a sour distortion at all. An observation based on experience. I was just having a conversation with a friend who has just moved back here from the States who was regaling me with the huge costs of his medical insurance and the inability to get them to provide adequate cover or stick to the policies they put out. They are run for profit.
opher goodwin Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:38pm
Tom - the huge cost of the American system has made all those connected with the system exceedingly rich.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 21, 2018 - 12:42pm
Tom, here's another example of how both the threat of litigation and insurance payments add unnecessary cost into the system. Same doctor I was talking to brought up the point of the cost difference between a billable cost and the cost for someone who is paying cash. He said that with some patients, he could do a diagnosis with an ultrasound. But there is a non-zero chance that an ultrasound could miss a serious condition that a CT scan would catch (he said about 1%). If someone came in and needed to pay cash, he'd like to be able to offer a lower cost option of using ultrasound - but since it is not the maximum standard of care, if he used the ultrasound and missed a more serious condition, he would be liable to be sued as not meeting the standard of care. So he goes ahead and does the CT scan (if the person can afford it) due to the potential for a lawsuit.
Those of us who do have insurance, with the way policies are now, we have at least part of the year when we have to pay for the procedures since our deductibles are not met. Still, we have to have the medical provider submit the claim, even though we are paying the full amount of the bill. Why? So we can get credit for the bill against our deductible, and because we will pay a discounted rate due to the agreement that the provider has with an insurer.
These are some of the reasons why US health care costs are at least 25% higher than any other OECD country.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 21, 2018 - 1:25pm
EABC,  American capitalism is dog-eat-dog...a feast for wolves cloaked as sheep, and it seems healthcare is no different.  'M.D.' doesn't stand for Morally Devout, right? 
Katharine Otto Added Feb 21, 2018 - 4:19pm
I think doctors are over-promised by pharma and the insurance companies and are being used, to some extent, to front for those who really rake up.  Not to excuse doctors, who are saps to put up with it, but a lot of the money they make goes to overhead.  And burnout among doctors is high, because they try to do too much, including begging insurance companies to pay for necessary tests or procedures.  The insurance companies are calling the shots, but no one is outraged enough to sue them.  They only sue the doctors.
Doctors as a group also want to help--it is their profession and identity--so they have a hard time admitting when they can't.  To admit to a feeling of helplessness is hard for everyone, I suspect, but for doctors it's also a liability.  People assume they are just bad doctors.
I know alternatives can be expensive, too, and there are a lot of frauds or salesmen who promise more than they deliver.  I have had good experience with acupuncture for low back pain.  One treatment with electronic stimulation cured my pain for years.  Other treatments for other things, with different acupuncturists, didn't do anything.  
I hear anecdotes about lots of cures by different techniques, but I suspect belief in the treatment is most effective.  Not placebo, exactly, but a state of readiness combined with the right practitioner, treatment, or situation.  
I'm a big believer in good nutrition, but I'm suspicious of fads.  There's so much contradictory information out there, and it's hard to tell what long term effects any food will have.  I eat what I like but don't like fast or processed food much.  I can taste the chemicals, and it seems "devitalized" to me, a term I made up and can't really explain.  
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 21, 2018 - 5:03pm
"rycK - not a sour distortion at all. An observation based on experience. I was just having a conversation with a friend who has just moved back here from the States who was regaling me with the huge costs of his medical insurance and the inability to get them to provide adequate cover or stick to the policies they put out. They are run for profit.?
"They are run for profit.?"
Do  you work for nothing?? Should others?
An anecdote or two characterizes HC?
I suppose we should ignore doctors who spend 11 years in school to get board certified.
The are compensated by market forces unless  you want to go into an alleyway for surgery. 
I was a researcher at Yale Med School for 4 years and saw something very different  about outlook and concern for those with poor health.
Maybe you can criticize clinical diagnostics and prescriptions as being too expensive. Our phony government sets up rules and regs that revs the cost of drug production and research. 
Clinical diagnostics: 85% of diagnosis
Prescriptions:             85% of treatment. 
How about some criticism for the British and Canadian HC systems with all  the long waits?
Oh!? Socialist systems must be okay
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 21, 2018 - 5:08pm
"EABC,  American capitalism is dog-eat-dog...a feast for wolves cloaked as sheep, and it seems healthcare is no different.  'M.D.' doesn't stand for Morally Devout, right?"
Is politics a dog-eat-dog...a feast for wolves?? Are they morally devout as you ask? Does the Party of Democrats stand for Morally Devout?? Hardly.
American capitalism is based on finding capital for means of production and when some choices fail the are dissolved and lose most of their investments. This is high risk business so we wonder why they should not be  rewarded.
It has been capitalism on this planet, even in primitive societies, for 5000 years so live with it.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 21, 2018 - 6:06pm
'Because it's always been that way' should never be an acceptable answer for someone with 4 years as a Yale researcher.  I've lived with the state of American capitalism for over four decades and if there's anything I've learned in that timespan, it's to avoid thinking that way. 
I don't scapegoat doctors but they are the ones in position to make a stand and get active about what's wrong in American healthcare.  The system keeps wanting to put more and more onus on the patient yet take more and more of his money.  It's broken and doctors are equipped to diagnose and fix it.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 21, 2018 - 9:12pm
That comment is precisely why nobody likes a Michka.  No taste, no class, no wit, no evident redeeming qualities-Awwww, gee only you and a few others here care about being liked.  I'd rather not be liked by a Nazi, and can only wish them discomfort.  You had no problem trolling me when there was a discussion ongoing, that might help you in your situation.  But I'd rather see you suffer and complain.  If there's was ever a "like" consideration, it ended with discussions about guitars and motorcycles, and you revealed your politics.
Leroy Added Feb 22, 2018 - 1:24am
My experience under Workman's Comp is that the doctors do the minimum.  I begged my first orthopedic doctor to do testing.  He told me there was nothing he could do.  He didn't want to send me to PT.  Ultimately, he did.  It helped a lot but didn't solve the problem.  After a year, he finally ordered a test, which led to another.  The first attempt was to solve the problem without surgery.  I knew from reading on the internet that it was a low probability solution and the doctor agreed with me on that, but it was worth a shot to avoid surgery.  
When I first saw the orthopedic surgeon in the US, he told me flat out that I didn't have a problem and summarily dismissed me.  I had already studied up on the situation.  I had already consulted with the best orthopedic surgeon in China.  I had already consulted with American doctors about my MRI.  I asked him, "What's all that black stuff in the MRI?"  He stuttered around and finally said, "I'll be right back."  When he returned, he said, "Ugh. Well.  Yes.  You may have a problem there."  He later removed the "may."
Even today I have had two tests that are advertised to be 99%+ accurate and designed specially to test this condition, yet the doctor is still reluctant to do what is obvious that he needs to do.   It's all about saving money.  There is no additional liability to the company, so I really have to depend on the doctor doing the right thing.  They are pressured to save money if they want the business.
My situation is 100% due to an a-hole German trying to save money for the company.   My case is more of a European created issue.  It was one screw up after another, beginning with an American doctor in an Austrailian (UK) clinic.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 22, 2018 - 10:46am
Leroy,  Your comments remind me of why I prefer to interact with others who believe in the power of God (non Jews).  If you're a powerful person that does not believe in a higher power, in almighty God, well there is no moral consequence for bad deeds perpetrated to their fellow man.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:27am
Excellent HC can be performed by atheists and others. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:32am
Absolutely true, yes, but when push comes to shove and a doctor has to decide whether to treat a patient that will surely help him, or pad his account for the next vacation, I'd prefer to be in the care of a doctor who will think about what's right in God's eyes, just incase a man needs that to quell temptation.
Leroy Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:40am
" If you're a powerful person that does not believe in a higher power, in almighty God, well there is no moral consequence for bad deeds perpetrated to their fellow man."
I don't know if that is necessary true.  I have a niece who was "saved."  She believes that since she has accepted Jesus Christ in her heart that she can be as bad as she wants to be and still go to heaven.  She is not counted among the powerful, but I imagine that many of the powerful have a higher opinion of their chances of entering the heavenly gates.  An atheist might seek his reward in this world.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 22, 2018 - 12:17pm
" I'd prefer to be in the care of a doctor who will think about what's right in God's eyes, just incase a man needs that to quell temptation."
Agree here and your call but mine is different. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Feb 22, 2018 - 12:20pm
"...she can be as bad as she wants to be and still go to heaven."
An artifact of cheap grace. [Bonhoeffer I think] 
"According to Bonhoeffercheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross,grace without Jesus Christ."--https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cost_of_Discipleship
So, that leaves the salient question: How are sins forgiven?
Jeff Michka Added Feb 22, 2018 - 12:21pm
I'd prefer to be in the care of a doctor who will think about what's right in God's eyes, just incase a man needs that to quell temptation-But only if they are a "good, white man," Purcell?  Hope you woke up in pain, pray for it to go.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 22, 2018 - 12:37pm
Anyone can say that they've found Jesus but it sounds like your niece has to find herself before she can find anything else. 
But as with Eastern Europeans claiming that they're God's chosen people, and even occupying Jerusalem.  That doesn't actually affirm Jewish heritage.  Kahzars aren't even Semitic but they're capital is Jerusalem?
My point is, religion is used for personal consciences and selfish gain by many.  And let's be honest, many are simply misguided or unable to grasp the rather complex principles of Christianity, and most religions.  Moreover, most aren't willing to commit to understanding how to live a fruitful yet disciplined lifestyle and frankly, most people could use guidance from clergy. 
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 2:30pm
I am glad that you wrote this timely article. The quality and valuable information in many of the comments proves that it is a subject that needs further discussion.
Around 20 years ago, I became sickly with a host of seemingly unrelated ailments. I was so ill and listless that I believed that I was in a decline that would lead to an early death.
I worked for a state and had the best of health insurance. I was getting no relief from my usual doctor so I doctor shopped. Doctor after doctor. None even suggested routine blood tests. None suggested the usually expensive and unnecessary tests. I believe that they did not believe me. I was prescribed anti-inflammatories, skin salves, cortisone, laxatives, anti-depressants, and more. My illness was a factor in the failure of my marriage. 
Finally, a holistic oriented doctor seemed to believe me and had an idea of what was causing all the seemingly disparate symptoms. He was the first one who actually ordered some blood tests. One included a TSH test. 
I take a relatively large dose of Levothyroxine every day ever since and I feel great.
I believe that all adults are responsible for their own health. A good doctor can be a partner. We must have the right to choose our own doctor. If we are not comfortable with a doctor or don't feel that the doctor takes our complaints seriously, we must be allowed an alternative. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 22, 2018 - 2:42pm
Thanks, Pardero.
I've been open to the root cause being anxiety, and I've even been willing to pursue that inquiry diagnostically with doctors because a steady increase of pain certainly leads to anxiety, and anxiety exacerbates pain.  So which came first, the chicken or the egg, right?  There seems to be much greater premise for sciatic damage done by prednisone injections as a child.  And possibly combined with the effects of concussions and other injuries from Pop Warner football.  I also watch all of those class action commercials for people that were prescribed _______ and now suffer from chronic pain and neurological dysfunction, call 800-bad-drug because it might be my best hope. 
Heh, I'm suddenly hearing Leroy's comments about "black stuff in the MRI" and now I recall asking a radiologist, "what's that round, white, glowing spot (because it's exactly where it tingles)?  He cocked his head to the side, look away and said "I'm not allowed to say anything.".  I never did hear anything else about that film.
Katharine Otto Added Feb 23, 2018 - 11:37am
Pardero and Tom,
Your stories certainly sound like bad doctoring and bedside manner.  I'm not a big fan of tests, but TSH is a standard test in psychiatry.  Hyper- or hypothyroidism can be a significant cause of a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
The primary difference between Oriental and Western medicine is the pattern-based approach in Oriental medicine.  The Western cause-and-effect style tends to minimize contributing factors, like stress, bad posture, diet, or even the wrong mattress.
You don't give details, so it's hard to suggest anything that might help.  I suspect most doctors, unless they are radiologists, aren't qualified to read MRIs, so they bluff or side-step your question.  If your problem is back pain, there's a saying that with back surgery, there's a 33% chance you'll get better, a 33% chance you'll get worse, and 33% chance you'll stay the same.  
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 23, 2018 - 12:01pm
Sounds like shitty odds for Leroy.  Are you an M.D., Katharine? 
My thyroid tests 'at the high end of the acceptable range' sometimes, especially when pain and spasms begin to overrun my days, but it was attributed to the condition and effects of chronic pain.  That assessment made sense to me, it felt like my hypothalamus was producing adrenaline to combat the symptoms. 
I think it's evident that as a result of two decades of chronic pain and muscle spasms, it's not only led to the tremor that will only get worse as I get older, but has also begun to cause dysfunction in nociception, further complicating matters.  And I have concern for my future proprioception.  I have to say that the most nagging pain is probably the burning leg, but the most incapacitating, severe pain is when experience thoracic lock, or travelling pain from my rhomboids into my neck and skull.  Any thoughts on that!? 
George N Romey Added Feb 23, 2018 - 7:08pm
Somehow if we were back to days of living on farms growing our own food and living with far less mental stress much of these medical issues would immediately go away.
Leroy Added Feb 23, 2018 - 10:37pm
Thanks, Katharine.  I'm not used to the cold climates.  I managed to slip on the ice and break my hip.  Pretty common.  The doctor misdiagnosed it, although the technician got it right.  The doctor said one bone was behind the other.  The hip was shot and would be replaced.  That made it a non-emergency.  Nevertheless, the medical evacuation team was prepared to medivac me to Hong Kong immediately.  That's where the German HR guy stepped in.  It was too expensive.  So, he made me lie in a crappy bed inside a storage room while he found a cheaper way to get me there.  I had to fly commercial suspended above the passenger seats to a major city and then by van to Hong Kong.  That took a couple of days for the airline to acquire the equipment.  It turned out to be an impact fracture.  If it had been closed within twelve hours or so, it would likely have been ok.  Instead, I wasn't screwed by together for three and a half days because of the a-hole German.  I developed AVN.  Which lead to the eventual hip replacement.  I won the lottery, and it became infected, at least that it what two tests show and one indicates.  I didn't have MRSA going in, but I had it immediately after the operation.  It could be that, or it could be a fungal infection or some combination.  The aspirate looks like pus but no cultures form.  I appreciate your offer, but there isn't anything anyone can do at this point.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:55pm
Just thought I'd share, for good measure, the latest communications with my doctor of neurology...I'll paraphrase.
Patient (Me):  Email to doctor expressing increased pain in the jaw, neck and skull and outlines how symptoms relate to the description of precursors to a grand mal seizure, but that aside from once at a blood donation as a young man I've never experienced a full-on seizure. 
Doctor:  Replies to my email saying, "I'm certain that you do not have epileptic seizures," (and)... "it doesn't seem like my treatment is helping so I'm going to gradually stop treating you"..."There are pain clinics and TMJ dentists that might help you.  Find out who's acceptable to your insurance, let my office know and I can refer you to a pain clinic if necessary."
Patient (Me):  "I'm certain that I don't have epilepsy too, Doctor.  Do I get my M.D. in the mail now?  I did that before on your instruction, (for the pain clinic...I had done that leg work and sent the information over for an OHSU specialist but never heard anything back) but nothing happened...no thanks."
M.A. for Doctor:  I tried calling ###....  The doctor wants you to make an appointment because it sounds like your experiencing an increase in pain symptoms.
Patient (Me):  "That doesn't make any sense.  In his last communication to me, as I'm sure you can see, he said he was going to stop treating me altogether."
Doctor:  Not using an economy of words, he tells me that I misconstrued his first email and I had asked too many clinical questions, and that he should have instructed me to make an appointment to begin with.  He told me that he wouldn't be able to refill my Tramadol other than to taper off.
Patient (Me):  "For what reason do you want to see me?  Do you think you can help now?  I think you are a smart, capable man but you have failed me as a doctor.  If you want to address my healthcare comprehensively and professionally, you're just going to have to take the time.  Before I go through the cost and motions of another appointment, you'll have to email or call me.  If you want to speak to me instead of email that's totally understandable, let's just set up a time.  I already discontinued the Tramadol days ago (it didn't help much anyway)." 
I then shared the details of some sort of CNS episode that occurred the evening before, and made a sarcastic remark about seeing a TMJ dentist.
Doctor:  "I told you before I could refer you to (4 different specialists + the new TMJ reference) so if you need a referral for one, contact my office."  
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 28, 2018 - 1:03pm
Oh, fyi - CNS = Central Nervous System. 
I did paraphrase.  I left out a few things but only to trim the fat.  I do like this doctor, personally.  I do think he's very smart and generally of good will.  I don't think all of the failures are on him.  He's from Eastern Europe and English is a secondary language so dealing with someone like me via email might have been an extra challenge but actually, that's his problem not mine.   I do think this doctor might be overworked and underpowered by the various governing authorities in American Healthcare but also, doctors nor people are what they used to be in terms of moral fiber and character.  People just don't care about each other anymore, even a doctor for his patient.
Leroy Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:31pm
If you write at above a tenth-grade level via email, there is a good chance you will be misunderstood by just about everyone.  Sometimes, you have to dumb down the message and keep it to one or two lines, no compound sentences or double negatives and, above all, no humor or sarcasm.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:46pm
As sad as that sounds, I think it's mostly true.  And IMO it's mostly true  because people don't prefer to stop and think for a moment.  It seems the American mind is changing, Leroy, and not for the better.  We're overloaded, going too fast and it's not going to take much to veer fatally into the wall as a society.  Then we shriek 'gun control!' when a young man spills his marbles after a thousand warning signs and cries for help, in order to pass the buck and ease our consciences.  The problem is the loss of family structure and values, not to mention time in a day to just 'be'.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:52pm
"The problem is the loss of family structure and values, not to mention time in a day to just 'be'."
Also, peer pressure from people convinced that our system is greedy, corrupt and racist. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:58pm
IDK if the system itself is racist but as far as greed and corruption, well I'd be a fool to think there wasn't too much of both in our 'system'.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Mar 1, 2018 - 1:18pm
Just the unfounded accusation of greed [crumbs for the poor], corruption and racism are sufficient to sway millions of voters who think they have been ripped off or worse. 
Obama and his fellow racists demanded that people vote for him less they be labeled racist, or worse. Yet he held Jeremiah Wright and Minister Farrakhan in high esteem, two proven racists by their hate-filled comments. 
Since this tactic worked so well the notion of "objective values" is thwarted. Demagoguery in full bloom. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 1, 2018 - 1:48pm
I see where you're coming from now.  "Perception is reality" is truly the case with many folks, especially Americans, but I believe that's changing.  Americans, even the dumb ones, have been watching for a long time now.  They aren't as gullible as they used to be, IMHO.
Yes, the fact that Obama was so close with sponsors of White Genocide answers some questions, and frankly we should have seen it when it mattered most.
Demagoguery is flourishing right now.  So many poor souls are searching for answers, for the truth.  And there are a thousand demagogues trying to sell them alternate realities in exchange for power or votes, if not cash.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Mar 1, 2018 - 2:05pm
""Perception is reality" is truly the case with many folks, especially Americans, but I believe that's changing. "
I offer the reverse of this: what if perception is NOT reality. 
Consider this:
"“The glass is neither half empty, nor half full. The glass is just a glass and it's content can perpetually change with your perception.” 
― Jennifer Sodini"
From the introduction to William James's Pragmatism by Bruce Kuklick, p. xiv.

James went on to apply the pragmatic method to the epistemological [e.g. relating to the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.--http://www.dictionary.com/browse/epistemological] problem of truth. He would seek the meaning of 'true' by examining how the idea functioned in our lives. A belief was true, he said, if it worked for all of us, and guided us expeditiously through our semihospitable world. James was anxious to uncover what true beliefs amounted to in human life, what their "cash value" was, and what consequences they led to. A belief was not a mental entity which somehow mysteriously corresponded to an external reality if the belief were true. Beliefs were ways of acting with reference to a precarious environment, and to say they were true was to say they were efficacious in this environment. In this sense the pragmatic theory of truth applied Darwinian ideas in philosophy; it made survival the test of intellectual as well as biological fitness."--https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_James#Pragmatism_and_"cash_value"
From here we venture into the complex ways in which a person 'identifies truth' and applies that to his/her conduct. I maintain that political truth is never truth of any cash value as it has no basis and is inherently variable. Politics infects neutral souls with a mandated 'truth.' Here truth is truth without proof.

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