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Thanks mostly to medical business, I’ve been out of touch for awhile. I was hospitalized for various tests and procedures nearly all of last week (no large problems, thank God), and save for a brief appearance at the law school’s graduation ceremony – I love graduations: everyone is so unremittingly happy – have spent this week recuperating. 

Last week reminded me just how much attention patients in reasonably well-run hospitals receive. It’s remarkable; I saw a half-dozen doctors and another half-dozen nurses on a regular basis. Nighttime excepted, I rarely went as long as ninety minutes without at least one of them dropping by. Of course, I’m more advantaged than most patients. But this isn’t just a matter of class or status. My roommate, an alcoholic who appeared less than fully in touch with reality, had almost as much doctor attention and more nursing care than I had. All of which is a reminder that health care is a strange business: in the end, a large fraction of what sellers sell is human relationship. When done well, those relationships are a tonic. But it’s hard to see how one can both do them well and do them more cheaply – the twin goals of any plausible health care reform process. Plainly, the system needs reforming. Equally plainly, reform will come at a price. I hope it’s not too steep for patients like my hospital roommate, who need all the care they can get.


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Comments ( 3 )

You can be certain with the health care reforms that are being considered that the costs WILL be great, not as much to the "disadvantaged" who have little to no money to pay but to those who have worked hard all their lives and have just enough to "not qualify" for "government assistance" or for those who are in need of fast action to save their lives. We will be waiting for month until the disease process is well past fixing, or we will be forced to deal with drones who are going through the motions and who care nothing for the patient, the patient's family or the end result, rather like too many postal workers. On top of that, government intervention will NOT save us any money but will end up costing more and more. Yes! Even more than the wasteful and arbitrary private system we now enjoy. Care for indigents should be done by church hospitals and benevolent physicians' organizations, NOT by the government. The constitution does NOT give us the right to health care. It gives us the right to the freedom to work for it, to save for it, to learn about it, to travel to find it, to share it with others but we should not be coerced to accept it from others or to provide it for others.

I am glad to hear that there were no large health problems this time around. You are constantly in my prayers.

On a lighter note, in re graduations, here is a true story that may amuse: back when I taught at Illinois, I was standing at the post-graduation reception chatting with my colleague, who I shall call Professor D.

A new graduate came up and politely interrupted to pose the following question to my colleague: "Professor D, I had you for four classes and I just have to ask: Do you know my name?" Prof D did know her name, which made her very happy. After she went away, however, he turned to me and said: "It was 1 in 4!"

The worst part was that I had had her in 2 classes and had no idea who she was! Thank goodness she didn't ask me first.

Ever since, I have been very leery of conversations at graduation!

As one of your former students, I wanted to thank you for coming to graduation - I didn't have a chance to speak with you there, but just seeing you in the crowd was a high point of my day.