Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Health care in crisis

Opinion

To the Editor:

What I have been hearing from so many people is that we have NO health care. There is a health care crisis happening and it is getting worse.

Lack of doctors is said to be a major problem. What we do not have enough of is access to health care. At the moment access is gated by physicians but this doesn’t mean that it must be this way or has always been this way or should be this way. What if there were more nurse practitioners? How many visits to family doctors really require someone with their training? There are visits for some things that a nurse or pharmacist or a sensible village elder could resolve. Yes, centralizing health care is convenient — for the health care providers, but not for patients. Think about it, is it a good idea to warehouse the elderly, those recovering from surgery with those undergoing chemo all with compromised immune systems in the same place that you encourage ill people — those with the flu and other infectious diseases to congregate? There is need for change in health care.

From another angle, new diseases/conditions are appearing and doctors need to be educated on how to diagnosis and treat. If you have an acute problem such as a broken bone or a major cut there is help. Chronic problems/conditions do not fare as well. Chronic conditions take more time in the office and when a patient is only allowed so many minutes for the visit this does not work well; this is even worse with “medically unexplained symptoms” (MUSs).

When it comes to disease there is so much more out there and it is time to look outside the box. Looking at my farm background it is like saying if it has feathers it must be a chicken… if that is all you know, that is what you will say. For example, a negative Lyme test does not mean you do not have Lyme, it could mean you do not have Lyme but it could also be that your body is not producing antibodies that the test picks up. Work needs to be done to develop better testing. A white matter change on an MRI does not automatically mean MS as there are other conditions that can be at the root of the problem. All possibilities deserve consideration.

Chronic pain is another difficult condition with many causes. Who do you think created the opioid crisis? The idea of prescribing another prescription is not always the correct way to treat a problem. Looking for the root-cause can be difficult and is not always found. There are many drugs that have a wide range of side effects and each person can be affected differently, so close monitoring is required. I know someone who became diabetic as a result of his medication and another who developed heart problems as a result of her medications. Treat one health concern and cause another.

There are also conditions that are self induced and people expect the doctors to fix them. People need to take responsibility for their own health even if this means advocating for oneself or even respectfully disagreeing. If a doctor says it, it must be right: wrong answer. You know your body better than anyone and one must take responsibility for their own health. Think about what you are putting into your body, what you eat and drink matters. Cigarettes and alcohol cause many health concerns and are extremely addictive. Physical activity/exercise is essential, as is adequate sleep. Moderation in life is key! People must be accountable for their own health.

The body you have is the only one you will have, this is where you live. Remember you are important and look after yourself as best you can.

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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