Sunday, September 17, 2006

Paging Doctor Feelgood to the White Courtesy Phone...

Watching one of the ‘outrageous moments caught on tape’ shows on TV, I wondered just how ticked off Doctors and Nurses and emergency workers get. There are all kinds of people suffering from illness and disease that they have no control over, and these medical workers do their best to help them.

Then there are the idiots. People who do stupid things and wind up – surprise, surprise – getting hurt, having to be rescued, and needing medical attention. You treat a lion like a pet and he wants a hunk of your arm instead, don’t be shocked. You base jump off a tall building in bad winds and get slammed back into the concrete building injuring all sorts of important things, don’t blame physics. You try to paraglide in one door of an airplane hangar and out the other and get slammed to the floor when your ‘chute gets caught, how can you be surprised? Consider it nature’s way of knocking you up the backside of your head and yelling ‘idiot!’

I just feel sorry for the people who have to patch these morons up. They show an event gone bad on that TV show, and then say something like ‘doctors didn’t think he would walk again, but after three surgeries he was able to.’ That’s good, but what I’m thinking is that’s three surgical teams and beds tied up to fix something that didn’t need to be broken in the first place.

I wonder if someday they’ll wind up teaching Common Sense 101 in schools…

Comments on "Paging Doctor Feelgood to the White Courtesy Phone..."


Blogger The Original LRU said ... (September 17, 2006 1:14 PM) : 

Interesting post. I agree that people need more common sense.

But I always get nervous when people start talking about the cost of health care, and what can be done to prevent it.

Your article makes it sound like the cost is all on the doctors and how they are "bothered" by a constant stream of idiots at the door needing to be patched up.

While I suppose there is a cost to the doctors, this is their chosen profession, and I think a lot of doctors and nurses go into the work with a desire to help people in need, whether that need was self inflicted or not.

And it's not like the "idiots" are not paying a cost. I'm sure the guy who could barely walk after 3 surguries would have much preferred to stay healthy in the first place. I'm sure he's learned his lesson.

Which brings me to my main point: I think people need to be free to learn their lessons on their own. If it adds to the cost of health care, so be it. It is easily worth that cost to maintain individual freedom.

But faced with mounting health care costs in a country like Canada, I see the temptation to legislate common sense as very attractive to politicians. Too attractive. We have everything from smoking bans to seat belt laws in this country, and it is all "for your own good." I suspect that not a small part of the incentive for these laws is the bottom line for health care.

People will do stupid things. Some people learn from the mistakes of others; wise people learn from advice; and some need to learn the hard way. That's life. But I strongly believe people need to remain free to learn these lessons themselves.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (September 17, 2006 3:49 PM) : 

Hmm, interesting comments, although the idea of the post at the time had nothing to do with health care costs, politicians, or legislating common sense. I was just thinking if I was a doctor, and someone came in with self inflicted wounds due to not using their brain and doing something stupid, I’d be a little ticked that I had to fix the mess while other people needed my help because they were dealt a bad hand from life.

I do agree that freedom needs to be maintained, but just for argument’s sake, what about the flip side of ‘legislating common sense.’ I don’t think you can legislate that, but the thing is – people will always jump if there’s a net. If the net is taken away, people might stop and think about the consequences of the action, especially if they have to pay the bill. I don’t want to legislate anything, I just want people to smarten the hell up. But how do you get people to use common sense? If the cost is always paid by someone else and the free ride is there, people don’t seem to bother to use their heads. Take away the free ride, and maybe people will stop and think. I don’t really think anything should be taken away, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.

People are human and will make mistakes, that’s a given. It’s the people who go out of their way to tempt fate doing something that has a high probability of turning out badly, and then when it does, they expect somebody else to clean up the mess. How do you get those people to stop and think before becoming a burden to an over taxed system? They basically wind up taking advantage of a system setup to help those that really need it. Then the system has to change with even tighter regulations to prevent it causing even more stress on those who need it. I should know. It’s the actions of the bad few affecting the chances of the needful many. How do you curb that without giving away your freedoms?


Blogger The Original LRU said ... (September 18, 2006 2:48 AM) : 

I'm not sure you can curb such behaviour by adding a financial cost to it. People don't think of possible future costs that would "never happen to them." At least not for the first accident. For example, traffic fines don't curb dumb driving until they add up to the point of losing your license.

And so with such a solution, you'd end up with your original idiot who is now crippled and destitute. :-)

I think freedom has a cost, and this is one of them. If you're going to have a health care system for all, that covers the needs of all citizens, and have freedom as well, you can't start legislating actions to reduce cost, or then you don't have freedom anymore.

And how are you going to legislate common sense anyway? Outlaw extreme sports? Make people get a license before they do something slightly beyond safe? What happens when a politician thinks that nobody in their right mind would want to go skydiving, and tries to purge this peril from our day? (Sorry, movie quote there.)

I'll gladly pay my portion of the "free ride" even for people who need it due to their own mistakes. I just hope I'm allowed to make my own mistakes as well, without government interference.


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