One morning a few years ago I woke up feeling unwell. Actually, I had being feeling bad for close to a week, but that morning I was feeling worse and not up to going into work. I had pain in my throat, ears, and jaw. It seemed like the appropriate time to seek out a doctor. Luckily for me, I didn’t live too far away from an urgent care walk-in clinic. It was nice being able to see someone without having to make an appointment that would be weeks away. So, I arrived at the clinic bright and early to get ahead of the crowd.
I got signed in right away, and was promptly taken back to an examination room to await the doctor. A nurse came into the room to ask me some questions about medication and why I had come in that day, and then left. Once the doctor arrived she checked my throat and ears, announced that there was redness, and told me I would be getting some antibiotics. She signed the forms she needed to, handed me the papers, and sent me on my way.
I remember feeling disappointed as I walked out of the clinic. There were some other things I had wanted to tell the doctor about, but it seemed like she was more concerned with getting me out of there as soon as possible and moving on to the next person. It left me feeling like the doctor didn’t care about me as a person. I think my personal experience reflects some aspects of bio-medicine as a whole.
It can almost feel like medical professionals are dissuaded from taking the extra time to really listen to their patients, and ensure that the patients understand what is going on in their bodies. It can start to feel like people are on an assembly line going through each step of their medical visits, without having a human connection. This can lead to people being confused about their diagnoses, afraid to share additional symptoms, or wary of seeking out traditional bio-medicine for their treatment.
On the other hand, my visit at the urgent care clinic that day did have it’s advantages. I was able to see a doctor and receive a prescription in less than 2 hours after I had originally woken up feeling ill. This quick access to health care isn’t always available outside of the American health care system. In addition, the medication I was prescribed cleared up my infection in no time at all, and I was able to return to work feeling much better. Other medical systems might not allow for such a quick fix like this. I was fortunate enough to have such easy access to health care.
There are pros and cons to any kind of medical system. Growing up in the United States, I have the most personal experience with bio-medicine. Experiences vary from place to place in the United States, but I know people who have had similar experiences as I have had.