NKA Elaine's Blog

November 20, 2010

I wonder…

Filed under: Uncategorized — nkaelaine @ 12:25 am

In a world where it seems we are always fighting, always decrying some injustice, are the right fights being picked?

I came across a letter being circulated on Facebook. It was penned by an ER doctor as an open letter to the White House. It turns out that the letter is real. The doctor is Dr. Roger Starner Jones who wrote a letter to the editor of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger in Jackson, MS. He wrote of his disdain for seeming abuses of Medicare and of his aversion to the prospect of socialized medicine in the U.S. He whined about a patient he identified as being on Medicare while having expensive looking tattoos, gold teeth, and admitted to a diet mainly of fast food. His supposition was that if she could pay for tattoos, then she must be rooking the system. Um, yeah. Would this be the same system that doctors and hospitals reportedly overbill on a regular basis?

He has a problem with his tax dollars supporting her lifestyle choices. Funny, I have a problem with medical professionals who reveal enough information about a patient that at very least her friends and family might surmise her identity. The last HIPPA for I signed stated that my information was private. I was under the impression that HIPPA laws were national, or at least standard.

At very least this woman has a right to privacy and should be able to assume that her ER doctor would not be disclosing her information to the world. And yet, this letter has been travelling the globe being touted as a perfect example of righteous indignation over the boogeyman called socialized medicine. I have yet to hear anyone besides me have a problem with a doctor violating a patient’s confidence regardless of her circumstances.

The thing about assistance is that, governmental or not, a cushion of some sort is built in and you cannot control how people use that cushion. As for Dr. Starner’s ascertation that she could have used the money to get her own insurance coverage, it is clear that he overestimates the cash this woman may have and underestimates the cost of private insurance.

Ultimately, the need for debate on public healthcare is vitally important. What becomes most important is the need for the debate to be civilized and respectful of individuals’ opinions and privacy.


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