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Bureaucracy, Medical Care, and Stupidity

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jan 10, 2014 8:35 PM

This post borders on the political. Bureaucracy is a fact of government. Not that we don't find it in business, but it takes on new dimensions when government regulates business. I realize that sometimes conditions demand that combination, like when people get short shrift. However, stupidity abounds when bureaucracy grows. A governor's staff has no business regulating traffic, for example. 

As we know in medicine, the doctor who treats the fingers for arthrtis doesn't cross paths with the one who treats the same fingers for dermatitis. What if the soreness and rash relate or result from another condition in an entirely different system. Recently, my primary care physician believe that my now-healing knee pain disappeared and then reappeared with calf pain down the leg because "that type of injury comes and goes with exercise." She's usually on point, but trained by her high pressure hosipial to guess  quickly, so as to process more patients for more money. Easy mistake on her part.

When the pain worsened a lot, the orthopedist's nurse encouraged an ultrasound for blood clot, which indeed appeared, luckily the superficial, undeadly kind. Then, the vascular people recommended hot compresses and aspirin, though palliative. Activity, though, proved essential.  As the pain worsened, I realized that no palliative effects happened, so I discontinued the hot compresses and aspirin. It's getting better since then. My little brain concluded that the hot compresses inflammed the residual nerve damage from the knee injury. The clot's probably breaking up but the bone is a bit sore. Is there a doctor who handles several systems at once well or do they all refer to specialists who ignore the interaction of symptoms?

Now, here's my second example of bureaucratic stupidity. When the initial knee injury hurt like h...., I applied for a handicapped sticker because I couldn't traverse a parking lot. My doctor wrote "knee pain" on the form. The Bureau of Driver's whatever sent me a letter that since I have an amputation, I better get another letter to prove that I am fit to drive. I obtained one, but did they ever process it? Meanwhile, I withdrew my application for a handicapped sticker because I could walk again. The system refused to change directions, though. As a result, I now have to retake my driver's test quickly, and the only opening on the weekend I'm back in PA this month, is a two hour drive away. So, I'll do it. Or, I would lose my license. It's insane.

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