Treating the cancer in healthcare
Cancer in a human versus cancer in a system
If you have cancer in a kidney, you can cut the organ out and continue to live well because you have a healthy, non-cancerous one on the other side. If the cancer is in the white blood cells, you can kill them all with chemotherapy drugs, and then transplant new healthy cells into the person afterward.
But when a system has cancer of the bureaucracy, you cannot cut it out or kill it. No system can survive much less function without some administration, some organizing principle and managing process. The glue that holds the system together and assists all the other parts to interact is (or should be) the bureaucracy.
The key to treating cancer in bureaucracy is getting it back under control, not cutting it out. How should that be done? Answer: the same way that porcupines make love – very, very carefully.
Who should do that? Who should get the bureaucracy back under control?
Who should treat cancer of the bureaucracy?
When the sick patient is a human, the proper healer is a highly trained health care professional: a doctor, nurse practitioner or other licensed provider.
When the sick patient is a system and the cancer is the “controller” of that system – the federal bureaucracy – who has the power and the will to deal with the cancer?
In the second century AD, the Roman satirist Juvenal wrote quis custodiet ipsos custodes, which means “who will watch the watchmen?” A paraphrase for healthcare today might be, “Will cancer cure cancer?” The answer is a two-letter word: no.
Expecting Washington to cure healthcare’s cancer is expecting the leopard to change its own spots, or the sinner to turn himself into the saint. If you look at every “fix” Washington has applied to poor sick Healthcare in the past fifty years, you will see that the patient has gotten weaker and sicker while the cancer has grown bigger and stronger.
Washington politicians have the power, but not the will to cure the cancer. Who then has both? The answer is staring us in the face. We just don’t want to see it because it frightens us. The only group that has the power, the will, and the need to cure the cancer is We The Patients – YOU.
YOU are the doctor for healthcare, whether you like it or not. YOU need to diagnose Healthcare. YOU need to cure it, not for my sake but for your own. No one else can or will. To do that, you need the information in the The Cancer In Healthcare. That is why I wrote the book, for YOU, not for the power brokers, the self-styled experts, the consultants or advisers.
Doctors’ failure to practice good medicine
Doctors (I personally accept a portion of the blame) have to accept some responsibility for the sad condition that patient Healthcare is in. We have a number of excuses (more on this in the Premium Newsletter) but the bottom line is that we doctors have not taken the leadership role we should. We have left the public to the tender mercies of the cancer in Washington.
What should We The Patients do?
The answer to this question will take some time. That will be the topic of the next Newsletter. Please encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to sign up and join in this conversation. The more members of “We The Patients” who are part of our community, the better chance we have of fixing healthcare, and of saving ourselves.