More from The Awase Era!
There are so many good times, some sad times,
a few angry times and a lot of fun and
funny times during The Awase Period.
I once knew an
anesthesiologist who would get SOOO anxious
about being MOD that he'd get the shits
two days before a scheduled MOD shift and
wouldn't quit for a day after!) or a
pathologist or any other kind of ologist....
if you're a doctor, you pull your share of
MOD... unless of course, you're the Big Boss.
.. the commander! On the other hand, I
recall two commanders I had who pulled their
share of MOD. One was an OB and the other
was a GP. In other words, the MOD was "in the
barrel" and was subject to every imaginable
abuse that could be reaped upon a servant
of an entitlement-mentality population of
beneficiaries! "What is that," you ask?
What's that mean? Hey!! The guy who's wearing
the MOD hat is subject to being jerked
outta bed at any time to respond to the
whims and wrinkles of ANY person who came
in with ANY complaint. (In those days,
clinics stayed open 24-hours a day, 365
days a year and the doc had to stay IN THE
CLINIC all night!! No being called from
home... had to be right there!!!) The MOST
IMPORTANT thing.... our most pressing
responsibility was to, by ALL MEANS, avoid generating
a complaint. That brings us around to that
"entitlement-mentality" thing. What that
means simply... it's a mind-set that we
instilled in the mind of every GI and family
member... a mind-set that dictates that
whatever makes you uncomfortable (you don't
even have to be ill or injured!) - if you
are merely inconvenienced by anything at
all that seems to be even remotely dysaffecting
your personal well-being, you then have the
RIGHT to go directly to the nearest military
medical facility and shout, moan, whine,
cajole, threaten and do anything else within
your capability to make it known that you
expect the tax-payer and the ever-maligned
military health care professional to lay on
hands and heal you. Expense is not a worry!
The belief was that there was a bottomless pot of money so it was
entirely within your rights to DEMAND - no matter how inappropriate. It was thought to be well within your rights to demand that a
specialist be called in to attend to the
scratchy throat that started after work
while you were drinking your beer and
hosing down the dog. It's perfectly within
your rights to present at, oh, let's say
4:55am to have this scratchy throat assessed!
Why 4:55? Because you have to be at work
at 5 and you don't wanna go. That's another
favorite ploy that used to be around. Show
up just before you're supposed to be at work.
Count on forty other people doing the same
thing and simply lag behind... drag your
feet.... be the LAST in line for sick call
and it's guaranteed that even if you don't
get a sick chit, you won't be at work till
after noon anyway!! Oh, the sick chit!!
Those things were like gold!!|
So... we used to have generations of people who thought that the medical care facility OWED them good health and that no dollar would be spared to make them Herculean! Don't pay any attention to the fact that you smoke a pack and a half daily and that you're 15 pounds over-weight!
Doesn't matter that your most
strenuous exercise is when you work your
"abs" while you're puking up the dinner that
was 4000 calories more than you needed! We
were expected to FIX 'EM! "And don't do anything
that makes 'em wanna write up a complaint
Okay... I know!! You're wondering
what the heck all this has to do with being
the clinic "monitor," huh? Well, I'm not
finished ranting yet!! Sit back!! Read on!!!
There ya go!!! Now, don't ya feel better??|
Thank God, the Air Force (and I believe the sister services too) has finally seen the light!! The QUANTITY of care isn't nearly as important as it used to be. Emphasis is now more on QUALITY and responsible use of our resources!! What's that mean now-days? It means that every teen who has acne is NOT ENTITLED to be "healed" by a dermatologist! You can't believe, and I can't remember, how many times in my 28 years in military medicine that I've heard demands that a dermatologist be consulted for plain ol' garden variety zits! Dermatologists can't cure it either!!! Yet, it wasn't uncommon for a parent to want specialty care when their kid's pimples were still there after 2 weeks of doing what "that plain ol' doctor" suggested! And we're not paying for that kind of "demand satisfaction" anymore!! Hallelujah!
Instead, we are spending our dwindling bucks more intelligently and we're doing more for our clients!! We're trying to encourage wellness and prevention instead of intervention after they've already had their heart attack or destroyed their bodies with poor lifestyles!
Well, this isn't about today, is it? This story is about 1973. Fix 'em! Make 'em happy! Get outta bed whenever they demand! Heal!!!
How did I fit into the picture? I wasn't a clinician then... I was a medic. A corpsman. A schmoe! *chuckle*
Most of the docs didn't wanna get up at 4 for a guy with a cold, so what'd they do? They invented technicians who were allowed to look at patients, assess the simple stuff and give them harmless (for the most part) medications - nothing they couldn't have bought in the store... but, Heaven forbid that a military member should have to take his wallet out!! The tax-payer is charged by law to pay his way! Why were we schmoes? Because we stuck our necks out (to say nothing of jeopardizing the outcome of someone who was sicker than we medics were able to recognize!) I think back on those days now and it simply frightens me! *shudder*
There I go again... HehHehHeh... okay! I'll behave!
That mentality has almost gone away!! *sigh* and that is a breath of fresh air! Now-days, the people whom I encounter are better educated, sharper than 20 years ago and are more realistic in their expectations and are generally a LOT more informed and responsible for their health. I think we can thank the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and countless other Public Service initiatives which teach the younger generations of Americans some of the things they need to know to live healthier lives! Now THAT's where the tax-payer is getting his money's worth!!