Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more. Subscribe below to get email notices so you won't miss any great content.

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When the New Year starts with an Earthquake

January 20, 2010

Two years ago, the holiday season was forever marred by the Tsunami in Indonesia This year, we being the New Year with a tragic earthquake in Haiti, a country so poor that the rebuild will be challenging to say the least.

Earthquakes are forces of nature. Election results are forces of voters. Recovery from cancer is about forces of mind and body. Ethics are forces of values.

It seems to be that the battle of values and human objectives is at odds with so many other competing priorities. And, different values can be perceived as no values.

I am at a loss to explain how we as a nation cannot accept two facts: We already take care of everyone as the emergency rooms of hospitals can attest. We take care of few before an emergency. We all hold on to what we have until we don’t have it, meaning 70% of the citizens have health insurance they are afraid to lose.

For anyone who knows about mixing business acumen with healthcare ethics, it is clear that transformation…a kind of “born-again” experience regarding priorities seems to occur when someone is caught in the very health care system they are holding onto. When insurance argues about coverage while patients languish; when employers rightfully claim they cannot afford to cover health insurance, which is an all-or-none proposition; when a loved without health insurance one becomes critically ill and your own insurance cannot even be gifted…this is where our current system fails. It fails on issues outside of medical science. While stories abound about the holes in the current system, equally compelling stories are told of the medical miracles available here and how a single individual’s life and future was saved.

I am at a loss to know what will happen regarding this health care debate. I can only hope that staying healthy remains an option. I do know that my niece who lost her job two years ago, only a year after having surgery for thyroid cancer, fell through the cracks of Massachusetts universal coverage….she told me that she made too much money while receiving unemployment payments.

Any answers on your side??

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