FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Barbarism of Privatized Health Care

A quick perusal of the website of Weill Cornell Medical Center, and one immediately arrives at such platitudes as, “People are the heart and soul of our institution,” and “We care about your health all the time – not just during office hours.” Yet the lamentable reality, is that despite its veneer of affability and bonhomie, Cornell is an institution that has neither heart nor soul, and which exists for no other reason than to maximize the greatest possible profit.

The total privatization of health care, which Cornell embodies in the most gruesome and quintessential manner, is incompatible with a sound health care system, because it is firmly rooted in the idea that good health care is a privilege, and not a right. It is also inextricably linked with a deeply reactionary two-tier system, where rich and poor are not afforded the same standard of care.

At Cornell, patients with major commercial plans are allowed to meet with experienced specialists that teach at Cornell Medical School. This is in stark contrast, to the way patients that have Medicaid and community plans are treated, as they are regarded by the Cornell administration and many of its senior physicians as untouchables, and as a degenerate inhuman rabble.

In Cornell Dermatology, patients who are identified as having inferior plans, are sent to the Cornell Dermatology Residents Clinic. This invariably results in patients receiving extremely dubious care indeed, as their principal dermatologist ends up being a resident, and not an experienced dermatologist. Moreover, this also results in a lack of continuity of care, because when the patient returns to the clinic, it is highly probable that they will be seen by a different resident each and every time.

When the attending physician is actually present, the patient is then subjected to an embarrassing – indeed, for some a humiliating examination – with multiple people in the room simultaneously: the attending physician, the resident, and perhaps also a nurse. This is in stark contrast, to the way patients with major commercial plans are treated, as they are afforded continuity of care, and are also allowed to meet with an experienced Cornell dermatologist in private, without unwanted interlopers violating and barbarically trampling upon their privacy.

As Cornell regards patients with inferior plans as fundamentally subhuman, the masters of this base and degenerate institution feel they have the right to violate the privacy of these patients at will, by inviting college students, interns, residents, and fellows into the examination room, and without first seeking the patient’s consent. When I complained about these egregious privacy violations to the knavish chair of Cornell Dermatology, he seemed concerned – until he realized what kind of plan I was on – at which point he completely lost all interest in the conversation. Indeed, this creature is undoubtedly one of many senior physicians and administrators at Cornell, who make large six figure salaries, maintaining and sustaining this diabolical and morally bankrupt system.

In addition to being a haven for perverts and people with unusual mental problems, having a two-tier system also comes in handy, in that it allows cowardly physicians to pass off unpleasant tasks to their residents, such as when the patient has to be told that the tumor taken out of their neck, actually ended up being malignant, and not benign as they were initially told. No matter: simply find a closet to hide in, while one of your residents delivers the unfortunate news.

After having a tumor removed from my neck, performed by Cornell Otolaryngology in April of 2016, a frozen section was placed under the microscope, and it was immediately declared by the chief resident to be benign. I was told to then come back in a week to have the sutures removed. But when I arrived at the clinic, I was met by yet another resident, who proceeded to tell me that I had metastatic melanoma. In the evening, I got a phone call saying that I didn’t have melanoma after all. And a few days later, I was told that I had Interdigitating Dendritic Cell Sarcoma, a one in two hundred million diagnosis, and the rarest disease known to oncology.

In the months that followed, pathology reports were obtained from MD Anderson, Memorial, Dana-Farber, and Stanford, all of which debunked this third and final diagnosis. Consequently, I received three diagnoses from Weill Cornell, and they were all ultimately proven to be erroneous. Moreover, each of these incorrect diagnoses were communicated to me by a totally unsupervised resident.

Many teaching hospitals have strict regulations, prohibiting residents and fellows from being alone in an examination room with a patient. It is regrettable that Cornell refuses to implement similar policies.

When discussing this catastrophic sequence of events with my esteemed head and neck surgeon, his attitude was that I should be happy that the residents didn’t actually perform the surgery. Indeed, the only reason why Cornell doesn’t allow such a thing to occur, is that should a patient wake up from anesthesia and find that their face has been paralyzed, they would sue both the institution and their surgeon for millions of dollars.

Following this third erroneous diagnosis, Cornell then had the unmitigated gall to assign me a doctor from their Cornell Oncology Fellows Clinic, who proceeded to walk into the examination room, and happily declare that she had never even heard of this unusual disease before. This oncology fellow was permitted to oversee the entire session without any supervision whatsoever, and if I hadn’t witnessed this with my own eyes, I simply wouldn’t have believed it.

Privatized health care – the power of which, has in fact been bolstered by Obamacare – is incompatible with a proper health care system, and is intertwined with the rise of a health care system rooted in greed, deceit, and the deepest contempt for those who are neither independently affluent, nor earning six figure salaries. Indeed, should we fail to nationalize our health care system, barbarism shall be our lot – and our future one of darkness, hopelessness, and despair.

Both political parties support this abhorrent health care system, which has bankrupted millions of Americans, and undoubtedly murdered millions as well. With all the trillions of dollars that the oligarchy spent destroying Iraq, we could have nationalized our health care system several times over. The mass media have also thrown their weight behind this unconscionable for profit system, and refuse to rationally and morally discuss the issue. The time has come to collectively fight for a full nationalization of our health care system. No less than our very lives are at stake.

More articles by:

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail