Most of us have fantasized about living in the past -- seventeenth-century France, Rome of the emperors, sailing with Viking explorers. But there is an aspect of the past that can be guaranteed to send us scurrying back to the reassuring present -- health and medicine.
Not surprisingly, doctors end up not tolerating uncertainty. In our high-tech era, this means more is done. A patient has seemingly vague symptoms, so the doctor orders some laboratory tests "just to get a baseline."
Many people are demanding better oversight of drug manufacturers in the wake of the recent fungal meningitis outbreak. But few people are asking an even more important question: Why were these patients getting questionable -- and mostly unnecessary -- steroid injections in the first place?
I spent a number of years in the medical field. I even ran medical practices. But even I was unaware until recently about one really good option for people struggling to find more affordable medical care -- the federally funded community health center program.
Sally Field is a talented actor. But what qualifies her to promote Boniva, an osteoporosis drug that is of limited benefit, has worrisome side effects, and for which there are natural alternatives that merit careful consideration?
The insurance companies and healthcare providers care little about those who cannot afford their high cost, and those that can afford it with difficulty won't join together and refuse to accept their exploitation.