My “first-hand” experience with the American biomedical system is actually still ongoing. Beginning in February of this year I started having severe upper abdominal pain that essentially renders me useless for hours and the only thing I can do is go to sleep. When it began in February I assumed it was going to go away on its own and only after two weeks had passed of being in pain everyday I finally decided to go to the doctor. She did some bloodwork that came back negative and told me that it must just be inflammation of my stomach lining and to take acid reducers for a couple weeks and it should go away after that. It did go away for a while but unfortunately, recently it came back and got worse so I went to another doctor again in late June who told me she did not have enough information to diagnose me and instead said I needed to do more testing and then come back for a follow up in a couple months.
There were a couple positives about my experience that I will share first. The first positive is that my doctor wanted to exhaust all the options that could be causing my stomach pain by having me do multiple tests in order to make sure that it was not something to do with another part of my body. I went through an abdominal exam as part of the testing as well as a blood test. My doctor also mentioned they might have to do an endoscopy but noted that it would only be used as a last resort which I appreciated because it is such an invasive procedure. Another huge positive is that recently, for my healthcare system, all test results, appointment scheduling and communication with my doctors can be done online through a website. This makes it incredibly easy and fast to see test results and communicate with my doctor if I need to.
Although my experience has not been extremely negative in the biomedical system, there are a few drawbacks that seem to far outweigh the positives. When I first started having pain, even though it was severe, I ended up waiting a few weeks before seeing a doctor about it because I thought it might pass but I also did not want to have to deal with the healthcare system in general. In the first few days I tried to make an appointment to see my doctor but she did not have available appointments for weeks. My pain became so bad that my roommates asked if they should take me to the emergency room but I knew that being treated could take hours and cost a substantial amount of money. When I finally was able to get an appointment with a doctor at the office, it was not my regular primary care physician, since she did not have any open appointments, and we had to spend several minutes going over my past personal health history. When I went to the follow-up appointment several months later with my regular primary care, because she had not seen me when the incident first happened, I had to update her on basically the entire first appointment, which was incredibly redundant for me. Another negative I experienced was having to go to multiple places to get each test. My doctor, the place I had to get bloodwork done, and the abdominal exam were all in different cities. I also have had to travel back home from East Lansing for these tests because the healthcare system I go to does not have any facilities close by, the nearest one is an hour away. This means I have to take multiple hours out of my day to travel to different facilities in order to get these tests, which is extremely frustrating.
Overall, although there are several positive aspects about the American biomedical system, there are also many negatives. Some of these cannot be helped but there are some that definitely can try to be corrected.