Dr. Jeffrey Lobosky, Co-Director of the Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit at Enloe Medical Center, and Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UCSF, knows the U.S. health care system from the inside and it's not a pretty picture. After years of frustration, and spurred on by his wife, Diana, he's gone public with a must-read examination that leaves no one unscathed.
As he notes in the Prologue, "I will discuss the roles of the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, for-profit hospitals and malpractice litigation in creating the prevailing mess. But I also hope to point out how the American business community, our current political system and their leaders, organized medicine, practicing physicians, and patients themselves hare culpability for our current state of affairs. No one group is fully to blame and no one group is fully blameless."
The details are spelled out in "It's Enough To Make You Sick: The Failure of American Health Care and a Prescription for the Cure" ($27 in hardcover from Rowman and Littlefield), a clear, sometimes wry conversation about the eroding relationship between physicians and their patients.
Dr. Lobosky will be speaking Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Lyon Books in Chico. An archived interview with the author on Nancy's Bookshelf with Nancy Wiegman (aired on KCHO Northstate Public Radio 9.17 FM Fridays at 10:00 a.m.) is at kchofm.podbean.com.
He notes a disturbing trend in the last decade in the growing use of "hospitalists," doctors whose full time practice is "within the confines of a hospital, admitting and caring for patients whose own doctors no longer provide those services or who are without primary care physicians. ... Care is handed off among members of the group as their 'shift' ends."
Dr. Lobosky charges $3808 for the emergency removal of a blood clot threatening the brain. "Medicaid pays me $1180 for that service. When you calculate the overhead (cost of malpractice insurance and office expenses to see the patients), I net $755 for a three-hour, middle-of-the-night lifesaving surgery, three to six weeks of ICU care, and three months of follow-up."
His solutions spare no one. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out the system is broken. But a brain surgeon may help us use our noggins better.