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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.

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