A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System Is Failing the Elderly
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
highspeed daredevil. He drove the fastest car, and his boat held speed records; he had survived some newsworthy accidents and also did his share of carousing, including disappearing for several days at a time, driving his poor wife to distraction. The doctor had suffered some financial reverses in later years after his wife died of cancer. When I picked him up as a patient, he was a lot slower moving and lived in a small apartment. He confided that he didn't have much money left. Our story opens
their minds whether somebody is going to get any or all of these medicines, there are some potent reinforcements to following the rules. Specialists will prescribe according to guidelines unless there is an obvious reason not to. Family physicians receive patients with specialists' recommendations and assume these well-informed doctors know best. Changes to guideline-mandated prescriptions are made at the doctor's peril; the patient's safety (and the doctor's) are understood to rely on sticking
taken to the hospital. No serious injuries, except to his pride. His parents emigrated from Japan many years ago, and he was raised in the Pacific Northwest. Frank came across as the gruff, strong, and silent type, very much the bush bachelor in town. But he loved classical music and had strong and (to me) reasonable ideas about government and human nature. A complicated guy wrapped in a rigid, traditional shell. As I got to know him, tried to help with his urinary incontinence (the apartment
was falling, by the way, because of low blood pressure, which I was able to fix. Hannah Eichel is an old woman (ninety-one), whom a home care nurse originally called me to see because Hannah was "difficult." She refuses treatment, she refuses diagnosis, she refuses to quit smoking, she refuses to eat properly, and she's stuck in bed because her arms and legs are weak for reasons that nobody can figure out. Her apartment is kept reasonably clean by daily home support workers, who also prepare
kinds of doctors (or any other health professionals) over the head, to fix the hospitals, or to reform the way we do health care administration. Most of the answer lies instead with family members, doctors, nurses, and home support workers. All of us. Before beginning to try to help a fragile old person, most of us only vaguely appreciate what we're in for. It is trouble, and it's usually big trouble by most normal standards. And modern, traditional, scientific health care will make it worse.