At a recent dinner party my husband and I joined two other couples in a lively discussion on the frustrations of American health care. We rounded up the usual suspects – cost, quality, access, politics, and broken systems. At some point the conversation took a subtle turn and we began to talk about the doctor-patient relationship.
Before long, I offered a comment that I probably wouldn’t have made before my last two years of serious doctor-going. I said that some patients want their doctors to be a combination of Marcus Welby, House and the Wizard of Oz. They want a great bedside manner, a brilliant diagnosis, and a miraculous solution. And I suspect that doctors want their patients to be compliant, accept a possible imperfect outcome, and have enough insurance to cover it all.
Recently, our city hosted the fifth annual national marathon to fight breast cancer. This is not part of the Komen “race for the cure” but rather a grassroots effort that mushroomed from its inception five years ago into the impressive event it is today. Thousands of people participate as runners, volunteers, and cheerleaders clad in the signature color. I must admit, seeing some grown men run twenty six miles wearing pink tu-tus is both awe inspiring and a testament to dedication over self-image.
It’s supporters include corporate sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors, and (no surprise) pharmaceutical companies. Its originators are a local TV celebrity breast cancer survivor and a cancer physician at Mayo clinic. It promises to donate 100% of the money to breast cancer research or care. To date, the event has raised millions of dollars and has met its contribution promise. It’s all very worthy, noble and heartwarming.