While editing this post I made several changes and started over numerous times before finally deciding on the message I wanted to convey. Initially while reading you may think this is a random rant about our healthcare system but please read the post to its entirety because the conclusion is by far a contrast from the introduction.
The Healthcare system we have now is not one of equality, it is not one of what's fair is fair, or a healthcare system of "What would God do". At times it is a healthcare system of how will I get paid, who will pay the highest and those that can't afford to pay will receive the scraps. I decided to right this post because there have been statements, encounters and actions that I have witnessed, heard and experienced directly and second hand during my clinical exposure and during causal conversation, that would make a "Normal" (Average, traditional) person wonder why in the heck would I ever want to become a doctor.
We have a healthcare system, where some doctors will determine the type of care you receive (as in: if they order an EKG, CT Scan, Allergy test, etc) before they even meet you, merely based upon what type of health insurance you have or lack thereof. There are doctors that will develop preconceived notions about your health, your lifestyle, and your ability to comply with recommendations based solely on your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
We have health insurance companies that decide 4 years of medical school and 3+ years of residency means nothing to them and if they want to reimburse you pennies on the dollar for your time and service then that is perfectly fine and they will not loose an ounce of sleep over it. There are insurance companies, that despite all of the training and experience a physician has, feel the need to override the medical recommendation made by physicians on prescriptions, exams, and referrals, with there own suggestions.
We have a system that allows someone with a nice comfy seat in Congress or in the Senate and even your local government (Governor etc) with more than likely no medical background and no true interest in patient advocacy, to make laws that affect our healthcare delivery system and to decide who has covered, who receives benefits and whose exempt from providing coverage.
In our healthcare system the Pharmaceutical industry is worth BILLIONS, they spends more money to wine and dine healthcare professionals and to market their drugs (millions, YES millions) than they do to actually produce the drugs. Yet, we have people in our county as well as abroad that can't afford their daily BP meds, insulin, antiviral drugs and so on.
We have a healthcare system that has contributed the structure of the medical admission process that exist today. Which puts more emphasis on...... I will rest me case here LOL because I could go on for day with this topic.
My professional and personal encounters have exposed me to good, bad and ugly aspects of our healthcare system. While, appalled at some of the things I have discovered, it has honestly only increased my passion, elevated my drive, and revamped my motivation to become a physician. Outside of the medical statistics that we can read about in journals and articles on policies, healthcare reform, Pharma and more, I have tons of personal stories of my own, that may be small in comparison to another person, or to the world at large but to me they are my motivation.
Every now and then, when I'm feeling a little discouraged about the MCAT, the application cycle or what have you, I think about my personal stories. Such as my granny, she is my buddy, we butt heads and joke around like pals. Despite not having and MD/DO behind my name, I am her Concierge Physician. I am constantly hounding her and my granddad about their health, I have to scold them at times, like their my children about their poor habits, their detrimental choices in meals, explain to them medical terms, dissect their lab results and that's not even half of it. I pray that they will be around to see me walk across the stage, finish residency and practice medicine. Not just to share these memories with me but because I want to be able to use my gift and expertise to help them. I see them struggle daily, they take literally dozens of pills, they suffer from everything imaginable, yet they still manage to help and encourage me. If one day, I could cure every illness they have, then this long journey would be more than worth it.
Despite its dysfunction, there is good in our healthcare system. And, despite our very competitive and at times unbalanced (and bunch of other crap) medical admissions process it produces tons of great medical providers. So as Applicants, Premeds, or Spectators, if you ever get discouraged, just hold on tight to the stories/experiences that led you down this rugged road, because when it gets dark they will definitely light the way for you! And remember no matter how hard life becomes your conclusion may be by far a contrast from your introduction.
*The statements in my post do not represent every physician, every insurance company, every politician, every pharmaceutical company, nor do they represent every medical school.*