|August 30, 1989||Volume 1 Number 3|
How to Identify Your
|PHYSICIAN - -||a person licensed to practice medicine; any person or thing that heals, relieves or comforts.|
|INVESTOR --||one who invests.|
|INVEST --||to put money into business, real estate, stocks, bonds, etc. for the purpose of obtaining a profit.|
|EXTORTION - -||the act of extorting; the act or practice of wresting money, etc., from a person by force, threat, misuse of authority or by undue exercise of power; sometimes applied to the exaction of too high a price.|
Why do people become physician-investors? Why is medical school so expensive? Why is it so difficult for people to get medical information when they need it? Why are health care premiums so costly? Why do so many people live in fear of the financial burdens associated with becoming ill?
It does not take the genius of a nuclear physicist to see !hat today's physicians are not practicing medicine for humanitarian reasons. If they were, they would take only enough money from their patients to live an average, middle-class life. But instead, today's physician-investors have become a new social gentry, one that is much more interested in its stock portfolios, country club memberships, yachts and retirement homes than in the well-being of its patients.
Most of the problems and corruption in modern medicine can be traced directly to the current educational system. Physician-investors learned the "ethics" of modern medicine by observing and absorbing the ethics of classroom life. As young children, today's physicians learned that individual, personal success at the expense of other people is the single most important goal in life. They learned that getting an "A" (which later translates into making a lot of money) and rising to the top of the heap was more important than pursuing one's personal interests, developing skill and competence or relating to other human beings in any way. They learned that a good memory and an aggressive, competitive personality were all that was necessary to secure and maintain positions of power and dominance over others. Remember your high school classmates who were always at the top of the class? They were the most competitive, self-centered, emotionally-isolated people, who had the least ability to relate to others. Those emotionally-bankrupt, self-serving people are today's physicians.
As young children, today's physician-investors learned the importance of hoarding needed information. They learned not to share what they knew with their fellow classmates, especially during "tests," when their classmates were under duress and most needed the information. Today's physician-investors are masters at hoarding medical information and keeping people from finding out what they need to know, especially when they are sick and need medical information the most. Furthermore, physician-investors have discovered that people are willing to pay five to ten dollars a minute to obtain medical data because they have no other choice.
Physician-investors have also discovered that to maintain power and control over people's lives, they must keep people from learning anything about their bodies that would allow them to become more medically self-sufficient. Young children with great natural interest and curiosity about their bodies and how they work are not even taught how to clean their own teeth properly. High school graduates, who have spent over 11,000 hours in the classroom, do not know how to respond to a heart attack victim or save a child from choking on a piece of food. They do not know how to help someone who has been in a car accident or revive someone after a near-drowning. High school graduates do not know the difference between a bacterial infection and a virus. They do not even know what vitamins are or how to use them.
Medical training no longer requires physicians to become involved in direct patient care in any way. How often have you seen a physician empty a bed pan, give a patient a back-rub, hold a patient's hand, refill an empty water pitcher or help a patient to the bathroom?
Educated Americans accept current medical practices because they believe they are too stupid to know anything about themselves and their own bodies. Teachers treat children as if children were disinterested, soulless, purposeless, lower-life forms. The message that teachers convey to children every day is, "You are too stupid and immature to know what you need, therefore, you must do as I say." Physician-investors have adopted this same attitude toward their patients, and most patients accept this attitude because educators have convinced them that this is true. As a result, ignorant, uneducated, illiterate Third World people are free to purchase drugs and treat themselves, while we as educated, sophisticated Americans are so stupid we need a prescription to buy a cream to treat baldness. We need a prescription to obtain an ointment to eliminate warts or a shampoo to eliminate lice because we cannot even be trusted to recognize a wart on our own or to follow the directions on an anti-lice shampoo without a physician-investor's supervision.
As educated, sophisticated Americans, we cannot order our own lab tests without paying a physician-investor five to ten dollars a minute to hand us a bottle to urinate into, and then another five to ten dollars a minute to tell us the results of the test. Young children between eight and ten years old could easily learn to perform and interpret laboratory tests. Yet, think of what would happen to the physician-investors' financial interests if patients gained even a small amount of control over their own health care.
Medical schools should be government subsidized training institutes, open to anyone who demonstrates an interest in medicine and an ability to work with people.
Physician-investors, as the new social gentry, have set up their practices completely for their own convenience. As young children, they spent twelve or more years in classrooms that were set up completely around the convenience of the teacher--the one in authority. Although many physician-investors, who like to delude themselves into thinking that the practice of medicine is still a humanitarian pursuit, would deny this obvious reality, one need only try to reach one's physician while he or she is in the middle of a golf game or consulting with a stockbroker to discover the physician-investor's real priorities. Furthermore, studies clearly demonstrate this fact. One study revealed that physician-investors performed more Cesarean-sections on Fridays than on any other day of the week, because they did not want to be bothered with laboring women during their weekends. In fact, if you have ever had the misfortune of getting sick before eight in the morning or after four in the afternoon on any Saturday or Sunday, then you probably know first-hand that medicine is designed to serve the physician, not the patient.
As young children, physician-investors learned about relationships by watching teachers interact with students. What they observed in the classroom every day was a situation in which the teachers, the ones in authority, demonstrated no interest or emotional involvement with the children. Physician-investors saw teachers treat students as if they were little computers rather than real live human beings with individual, unique feelings, interests, needs, wants, goals and skills. In a similar way, physician-investors have established the same disinterested, uninvolved relationship with their patients. Medical training no longer requires physicians to become involved in direct patient care in any way. How often have you seen a physician empty a bed pan, give a patient a back-rub, hold a patient's hand, refill an empty water pitcher or help a patient to the bathroom? These lowly jobs are reserved for the servant nurses and aides only, so that the physician-investor can remain detached and uninvolved, and all patients can be treated as undifferentiated drones. Because physician-investors refuse to become involved with their patients in any way, their diagnostic abilities are severely limited. Some studies estimate that up to fifty percent of all patients are incorrectly diagnosed and incorrectly treated.
Finally, schools teach children, through the example of the teacher, that the best way to maintain one's authority and dominance over others is through psychological intimidation, including humiliation and insult. Humiliation and insult are very powerful psychological weapons when used against vulnerable, frightened children. Similarly, physician-investors have learned to humiliate and insult vulnerable and frightened patients, especially when patients threaten to inconvenience them or challenge their authority in any way. How many times have you been humiliated or insulted by your physician-investor when you asked for advice or help? And remember, you probably paid five to ten dollars a minute to be insulted and humiliated.
There was a time when physicians were part of the servant class, when they functioned primarily as physical caretakers who tended to the needs and whims of the aristocracy. Physicians were barbers, bathers, soothsayers, dentists of a sort and masseurs. They had very little technical knowledge and generally had to wait for nature to provide any cures.
When physician-investors were introduced into Western society, they were still part of the servant class. Although they had been granted special titles through educational institutions and had gained slightly more technical knowledge, physicians still made house calls, tended the sick and lived an average, middle-class life. Then, through a series of discoveries in the 19th and 20th centuries, including antibiotics, physicians gained greater power over life and death. Physicians were no longer impotent comforters of the sick who could offer only a cup of tea or a cold towel to reduce a fever. Physicians became the keepers and controllers of real medical relief.
Today, physician-investors have thousands of pills, medicines and treatments at their disposal. Because they are trained to do something for the patient, it is much easier on them when their patients have an illness or a disease for which they can offer a treatment or cure. It is very difficult for doctors during the flu season, when they are faced with seeing many sick people who need only rest in order to recover. It is difficult for the physicians to be honest enough not to prescribe a pill or medicine of some kind when none is required.
When physicians became aware of their power over life and death, having been to school and educated in the "ethics" of classroom life, they quickly learned to take advantage of their power to save lives. They saw the opportunity to make a "killing" from the ills of society. Thus, the physician-investor was born.
In the natural order of things, physician-investors should have remained a part of the servant class, functioning as medical engineers or technicians who tended to the physical needs of all members of society. But instead, physician-investors became the new titled aristocracy, and the new frontiers in medicine were and are primarily financial frontiers. Physician-investors hired their own servants called nurses. They did not take on nurses as equal, competent partners, but immediately placed nurses in the role of servant and slave (something nurses would not resent if physicians functioned as servers as well.) Nurses were and still are used as the physician-investor's stepping stone into the aristocracy. Nurses are expected to do the work of serving the sick, freeing the physician-investor to do the work of getting wealthy. Nurses can tend the patients while the physician-investors tend their stock portfolios.
Physician-investors cannot see that the more they have practiced extortion, the more painful and empty their lives have become.
Today's medical system has its seeds in feudal societies. Doctors are the lords and barons, the ladies and baronesses who have claimed absolute jurisdiction over people's lives. Doctors decide who will receive medical care and who will not (based, of course, on income). Doctors decide what drugs people can and cannot take. They decide what diagnostic tests people can and cannot have. Doctors decide when individuals can be hospitalized and when they cannot, and they decide how long someone can stay in a hospital once admitted. Even when Ronald Reagan as then President of the United States was hospitalized, he could go home only with his doctor's permission. Doctors have the power to get murderers released by declaring them crazy and therefore not responsible for killing another human being.
The American Medical Association is one of the most powerful organizations in America. It is more powerful than the Internal Revenue Service and more powerful than most branches of government. If you do not think the AMA is powerful, check with your Congressmen and Senators, and they will confirm what we have said.
In feudal societies, the peasants worked the land and the feudal lords reaped the benefit. Today, the ordinary people work to keep the physician-investors in wealth and luxury, and the same methods of extortion are used. The sicker a person is, the more money the physician can earn. And while the new feudal lords, the physician-investors, are getting rich from the ills and troubles of others, people have failed to realize that the real breakthroughs in medicine have not come from physician-investors. The real medical breakthroughs have come from outside the medical community and have usually been the result of the work of chemists, physicists, biologists, electrical engineers and researchers. But like the feudal societies, the physicians and drug companies reap the benefits of other people's labor.
The challenge for the feudal lords and barons was who could make the most money and do the least amount of work. Today, physician-investors, along with plumbers, lawyers, real estate brokers, electricians and corporate executives, have undertaken the same challenge. In fact, there is a race to see who can earn the most by doing the least, and the new, unspoken rule is that the guy who makes the most money by doing the least is the smartest guy on the block.
The reason physician-investors have been able to take up the challenge is because people are becoming more and more ignorant. People are sitting ducks for auto mechanics, dentists, physicians, electricians and plumbers because they know nothing about how the world works. The high-powered yuppies are the biggest sitting ducks of all. If you have an expensive car, the less you know about cars, the more work will be done on your car. If you know nothing about plumbing, a $4000 plumbing job could cost you $10,000. The less you know about bodies or surgery, the more vulnerable you are to an unnecessary surgical procedure. You can be sure that physicians themselves receive far fewer unnecessary, useless surgeries than the general population.
The majority of physician-investors are not practicing medicine, they are practicing extortion--"the act or practice of wresting money, etc. from a person by force, threat, misuse of authority or by any undue exercise of power; sometimes applied to the exaction of too high a price." Medicine is big business. The American Medical Association is a powerful monopoly. There is something very wrong when people without medical insurance are expected to pay a thousand dollars a day or more to be treated in a local community hospital. Recently, one of our staff members had the misfortune of being treated for flu symptoms in a local emergency room. He spoke with an attending nurse for one minute and with an attending physician for less than five minutes. He received two chest x-rays and no other tests or treatment. The bill for these services came to $368.00, which represents an entire month's salary. Without health insurance, a month's salary was wiped out in less than fifteen minutes for a condition that required no treatment.
Most physician-investors believe they have earned the right to charge high fees because they have paid their dues both in the financial cost of their medical school training and the long hours (80 to 100 per week) of work during their internship and residency training. The fact that medical schools (and law schools) are so expensive that physician-investors must deal with them as a financial investment in their careers is all part of the inherent corruption. Physician-investors pay $100,000 or more to go to medical school and buy themselves the title of "doctor." "Doctor" is equal to lord, lady, baron, baroness, duke or duchess. It entitles the holder to be treated as a member of the medical aristocracy with special seating in restaurants and all other accompanying privileges.
The fact that medical schools (and law schools) are so expensive that physician-investors must deal with them as a financial investment in their careers is all part of the inherent corruption.
People have come to place false value on the practice of medicine and the "knowledge" of the physician. In reality, auto mechanics are required to know much more than physicians. Human bodies are constant. Automobiles change every year. Their designs, parts and materials are always changing. The amount of data required by an auto mechanic is astronomical compared to that of a physician. Furthermore, we need to rely on auto mechanics much more often than we do physicians. People do not need to go into the shop nearly as often as cars do. There are many physical conditions that people can treat at home. Yet, there are very few things that you can treat your car for at home.
The difference between medicine and auto mechanics is that people have a very different response to their wife or husband's dying than they have to their car's dying. physician-investors have taken advantage of that response. Auto mechanics are not allowed to walk around in white coats looking important. No one would expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to become an auto mechanic. But, physician-investors literally buy the power over life and death when they invest in their own medical training.
Many people enter medical school because they think if they become doctors (rich, important people) they can recover their dignity. Education strips children of their dignity during the first few years of school, when they are forced, under conditions of extreme psychological duress, to forego all their own natural interests and needs in order to conform to school. The truth is that no one subjected to this educational system ever recovers his or her dignity--not doctors, not anyone. No amount of prestige, no amount of money, no amount of power over people's lives ever replaces the loss of human dignity. But the idea of becoming a titled physician is a powerful illusion at any price.
Medical schools should be government subsidized training institutes, open to anyone who demonstrates an interest in medicine and an ability to work with people. Medicine should attract a wide range of people with a wide range of interests and skills, and not just a narrow group of people with good memories and competitive personalities. Physicians should not have to face a $100,000 debt when they graduate from medical school. Furthermore, intern and residency training programs should be limited to normal work weeks of 35 to 40 hours. Evidence clearly shows that 80 to 100-hour work weeks for physicians in training lead to less effective patient care and result in angry, resentful doctors, who perceive their patients as the source of their pain and suffering and treat them accordingly.
Today's physician-investors have yet to realize that nothing in life is free--everything has a price. You could say there is an unwritten human law which states that money earned from the trials and tribulations of other people will be more trouble than it is worth. When physicians were serving patients, their patients were grateful to them. Gratitude is a very rewarding, positive and enriching experience.
Because physician-investors have decided to serve themselves and practice extortion, patients no longer feel grateful. They feel resentful, because someone is taking advantage of them when they are sick. Resentment, unlike gratitude, is a very negative, draining experience. Without gratitude, medicine has become very empty. Many people who need medical attention often do without it because they either cannot afford it or do not want to feel ripped off. People who can afford to go to the doctor go because they need attention and can afford to buy it. By the time today's physician-investors retire from the practice of extortion, they are physically and emotionally bankrupt, which many spouses of physician-investors can affirm.
Physician-investors cannot see that the more they have practiced extortion, the more painful and empty their lives have become. Drug and alcohol abuse among physician-investors and their families is steadily rising, not to mention the increased family and marital problems many physician-investors now experience. In fact, very few physician-investors are able to relate to their own families anymore because they are using all their energy to relate to their incomes and their financial investments.
Some physician-investors claim they must charge high fees in order to cover the cost of their own malpractice premiums. But the truth is, malpractice premiums are high because patients are suing physicians as a way of striking back. Patients are hurt, resentful and angry at being ripped off and at the fact that physician-investors are pretending to be serving people when they are not. Suing the physician-investor is the only way that patients can strike back.
There was a time when hospitals received community support in the form of financial donations and volunteer services. Today, hospitals are receiving less and less community support, both financial and in human services, because they have become large corporations that function to aid the physician-investor in the practice of extortion. People do not want to contribute to the hospital corporation any more than they want to send a donation to General Motors or volunteer to work on an assembly line.
It must be noted here that we are not saying physician-investors do not do good things, because they do good things every day. Even the most incompetent physician-investors do good things every day. But in order to get a physician-investor to do something good, you have to treat him (or her) like a royal lord or lady. In order to obtain medical care, you must be subjected to materialistically corrupted, emotional babies. Being subjected to a physician-investor is often more painful than the illness for which a person is seeking treatment. Patients have to get past the false royalty, past the emotional pain of being subjected to a materialistically corrupt, emotional baby, and past outrageously high fees, just to get the physician-investor to do some good.
Physician-investors are too far gone and too corrupt to change. They are too addicted to their stocks, bonds, country club memberships and retirement homes. The few rare physicians who still want to serve humanity usually do not last long in medicine. Like the well-meaning teacher who is honestly interested in the well-being of children and is quickly forced out of teaching, these physicians cannot survive in such a corrupt and destructive medical system.
The American Medical Association is a very powerful institution, one that cannot change without the challenge of competition. In the same way that a few individuals got together to form the American Football League to challenge the monopolizing tactics of the National Football League, medicine needs an alternate association. The American Medical Association needs to be challenged by a new medical organization (perhaps called the National Medical Association) organized by the few people who are tired of playing for the AMA and believe that medicine should serve people.
In order for the National Medical Association to work, a new system for training physicians would need to be developed. In the current system, physician-investors are required to have only good memories and a competitive personal nature in order to be accepted into medical school. Good will, kindness, patience and friendliness are all without value. Memory is given the highest and only priority. Would-be physicians need not demonstrate any interest in the field of medicine. They do not need to exhibit intelligence, common sense, good judgment, decision-making ability or intuition, all of which are required in medicine and all of which are much higher forms of mental functioning than memorization ability.
In this new system, the medical training would need to be subsidized so that medical trainees did not incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Salaries for NMA graduates would be consistent with whatever was needed to maintain an average, middle-class life-style and no more. Medicine would be returned to a service profession that attracts people who want to serve humanity and contribute to society.
The National Medical Association would need to set up its own standards of practice, so that people could get into the field of medicine only after demonstrating an interest in physiology, biology and related fields, as well as an extreme interest in relating to human beings and helping to solve world problems. The NMA would need a system for training people that would reflect how people naturally learn and improve, and that would breed out the false idea that the people with the best memories make the best physicians. Anyone with a high school equivalency and a sincere interest in medicine could receive medical school training, regardless of age, which means that normal, healthy twelve-year-olds could start medical school.
In the current system, physician-investors are not required to become involved with patients in anyway. In every other profession, including nursing, people are required to start at the bottom and work their way up. Only in medicine can a physician start at the top and stay there without proof of competence. A new physician-investor graduate automatically gains seniority over a nurse who has demonstrated 30 years of skill and competence in the medical field. A psychiatrist who cannot even relate to another human being can become the head of a mental health clinic, even though the clinic receptionist does better work with patients.
On the other hand, a nurse who demonstrates a high degree of skill can never rise to the top in medicine. A highly skilled nurse with years of medical experience has no possibility of getting into medical school. A nurse who is qualified to serve as Chief of Staff has no chance of being appointed to such a position. Yet, an incompetent, ambitious physician has a good chance of becoming Chief of Staff at almost any hospital. Even the most "uncivilized" tribes require that tribal members demonstrate some form of leadership ability before being assigned the amount of responsibility and authority that has been automatically granted to physician-investors.
In the National Medical Association, a person could move through the system only after demonstrating a consistently high degree of skill at each level of training. The training system used by the NMA could be a four to six level system. All prospective physicians would begin their training at the entry level. At this level, all of the courses and duties would reflect the work that is now ordinarily done by nurse's aides and assistants. At this level, physicians-in-training would be required to be involved in direct patient care, including changing beds, emptying bed pans and giving back-rubs. Physicians-in-training would learn how to take care of people's basic needs and how basic medical care works. They would get to know people and find out whether they liked them or not.
Some physician-investors claim they must charge high fees in order to cover the cost of their own malpractice premiums. But the truth is, malpractice premiums are high because patients are suing physicians as a way of striking back.
After six months of entry level training, a qualified physician-in-training would receive his or her certification in level one. It should be noted here that the majority of today's physician-investors would not be qualified to receive such certification, since they have such little interest in people that they would not be able to get through the program. It would probably be safe to say, however, that they would easily pass an entry level program in the field of financial investments and management.
Each subsequent level would include a higher level of medical knowledge and a greater degree of demonstrated skill. For example, level two might include all the courses and duties now included in the training of a licensed practical nurse, and take 12 to 24 months to complete. Level three might take another 12 months to 2 years and include all the training and direct patient care currently required to become a registered nurse. Level four might include the training now required of physicians during their internships (without the abusive long hours), and so forth.
Certification at each level would be awarded only to those who demonstrated genuine interest and skill in both medicine and relating to people, and would never be a function of what a person could memorize from a book. Patients would be directly involved in the evaluation process, something which is unheard of in the current system. No one would be allowed to move to the next level of certification without being qualified and certified at the previous level, although trainees would be allowed to retake any level which they were unable to pass.
The new National Medical Association would produce both human and technically oriented physicians, who would be referred to only as medical engineers. After the six levels of training were completed, a medical engineer would be granted a temporary license and assigned to apprentice under another medical engineer who had full licensure.
In this system, people could stop their training at any level of certification and remain functioning in the system in positions consistent with that level of training. But, everyone in this system would be thought of as medical technicians at various levels of certification. No one would ever be granted an M.D. or given the title of "doctor" since "doctor" has come to mean the same thing as baron or baroness. Humanity desperately needs honest, qualified physicians, but people can do without "DOCTORS."
Any increase in status or pay would be related to demonstrated competence and skill only. If people remained insistent on conferring the title of doctor or M.D., this would be done only after a person had served at the highest level of medical technician for 25 years or more. This title would be conferred on a person only as a joint community effort (not by some unrelated educational institution), involving all of those people who could attest to the demonstrated quality of a particular medical technician's work. Then, and only then, would such a title have any real meaning.
Finally, the National Medical Association would not function as an arm of the drug companies. Any drugs on the market would be labeled experimental during the first two years of usage by the general public. During that time, all drugs would be tested for effectiveness and side-effects by independent companies. The results of those tests would be reported to the National Medical Association and the general public, not to the drug companies or the government.