200,000 PLUS

Two hundred thousand lives lost.  Take a few minutes and let that settle in.  For the last 6 months, the news has bombarded us with the Covid-19 death toll on an hourly basis.  I really think that we have been desensitized to such a degree that 200,000 deaths have very little impact on our society.  

Certainly, it has not impacted the deniers, those individuals and groups who have sold themselves on the premise that Covid-19 is a hoax.  Then there is the group who hate/refuse to wear masks.  You would think two hundred thousand lives lost would be enough to convince you to use a mask even if you were convinced that masks were worthless. 

What have you got to lose?  The chances of wearing a mask causing harm is ridiculously small.  The chances of social distancing causing harm are also small.  So, maybe you don’t get laid as often.  Can you live with the consequences of wearing a mask and practicing social distancing?  I certainly can.

When I started in medical school in 1974, I would have laughed at you if you told me 200,000 lives would be lost to a viral infection in 8 short months.  I would have told you that modern medicine was on the cusp of eliminating measles, mumps, polio and smallpox.  I would have explained that the influenza vaccine was a modern-day miracle reducing the incidence of deaths from influenza significantly.  

In fact, over the 40 years I practiced medicine, I experienced fewer and fewer deaths from infection.  If my memory serves me well, I don’t believe I had any deaths from infection during my last 5 years in practice.  Once upon a time, I had a large “sick” waiting room and a small “well” room.  The sick patients far out numbered the well patients.  Then came the Pneumovax vaccine and the tide turned, with well patients out numbering the sick patients. 

So, what happened?  Did nature just screw us?  Did we become too complacent?  We prided ourselves in having the best medical care in the world.  At one time, I believed we were the best.  I don’t anymore!  Our system is so screwed up that doctors are called providers and spend large parts of their days providing data to their employers, insurance companies and the government.  Patients can’t afford half of what is ordered and are at the mercy of their insurers’ clerks, begging for approval of medicine and test.  By the time I retired, I had concluded that the insurers were a de facto government and that doctors and patients’ sole job was to bolsters the insurers profitability at any cost. 

If we had a system that demanded the best possible patient care and not the collection of data, a system that re-invested the majority of healthcare profits into research and development of new treatments/technologies, then we might already have a vaccine and reliable testing for Covid-19.  Certainly, we would not have lost 200,000 souls.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has brought out the worst in us all.  It has become a political issue, dividing us into many camps.  Covid-19 has created an atmosphere of distrust, false science and manipulative statistics.  Covid-19 has stoke all kinds of conspiracy theories that read like a Vince Flynn novel.  Personally, I think we were attacked.  I think we are in the midst of WW III and have lost the battle and maybe the war.

What’s going to be left when Covid-19 is controlled?  Will life ever resume as it was prior to the year 2020?  The only thing I know is that the American medical system is doomed.  It needs to be gutted and rebuilt from the ground up.  I can’t believe that I’m going to say this out loud, but I think a single payor system is a must.  Unfortunately, I can’t imagine that there is a way to control the bureaucracy involved while maintaining a humanistic, caring foundation.  I’m sure the politicians aided by the insurers will guarantee that any attempt to revise our perverted system will fail.  There is just too money involved.

Two hundred thousand lives lost so far.  What a pity!

Here’s your music for the day and a joke.

This drunk wanders into a hotel lounge where an insurance convention just happens to be taking place. The drunk is hell-bent on causing trouble and he yells, “I think all insurance agents are crooks, and if anyone doesn’t like it, come up and do something about it.”

Straight away, this guy runs up to him and says angrily, “Hey! You take that back right now!” The drunk sneers and asks, “Why, are you an agent?”

The man replies, “No, I’m a crook.”

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