“Dr. Ferguson you were terminated in December 2018.” I was informed of my “status” while trying to refill a patient’s medication with a mail order pharmaceutical company. I asked the lady how I could be terminated from an organization I had never joined. She had no answer and referred me to her supervisor. After holding for twenty-seven minutes, I asked for a return phone call, but I never received one.
I’m sure many of you have experienced similar interactions with any number of bureaucracies such as the cable company. Some years ago a patient remarked that I looked ill. I told her I had a bad cold and she credulously said, “I didn’t think doctors got sick.” I assured her I bleed just like everyone, and I assure you that I struggle against mindless bureaucracies just as you do.
Termination has happened to me over and over since I left traditional medicine in 2014 and started my concierge practice. By necessity my practice is “off the grid” because Medicare does not allow doctors they cannot control to participate.
I lost a patient about six months ago because she did not receive her lab results. Weeks before I had given her orders for lab work and asked her to notify me when she went to the outpatient hospital lab. She did not notify me and when I investigated the situation, I discovered that the hospital had relabeled me as “unknown physician,” though I had used that hospital’s system for twenty-five years. Worse than that, the tests were done, but never reported to the “unknown doctor.” Thankfully, the patient’s tests were normal. It took me five calls and six weeks to get the errors out of the hospital’s computer system and reverse my “termination.”
I’ve practiced and taught medicine for forty-five years. And I still regularly encounter caring physicians, nurses and support personnel, but the computerization and compartmentalization of medicine are making things more impersonal and problematic.
Doctors used to know their patients, their conditions and family situations, and when they met their patients in the emergency room, they participated in care decisions. Last year one of my patients was being treated in an emergency room. When I spoke with the ER physician and gave “additional” medical and social information, he commented that such nuanced patient information was unusual and “refreshing.” And now, strangers (hospital doctors) are given the responsibility of caring for patients, often without complete medical records or additional family and social information. It was hoped that electronic medical records (EMR) would fill informational gaps, but these expensive systems have only burdened doctors and made care more compartmentalized. ER doctors are now often accompanied by scribes whose responsibility is to take notes and complete the complicated computer record. I once lamented, “There’s no keystroke for caring,” and I still believe this is true.
Is there a difference between termination and being deemed obsolete and replaced? I remember watching a Twilight Zone episode as a kid and learning the word “obsolete” chanted by an unfriendly mob. Will Christianity, patriotism or American ideals like freedom of speech and assembly soon be deemed obsolete, by the politically correct mob, and be terminated? It has already happened on college campuses where words cause such anxiety among snowflakes that safe zones and counseling centers are needed to shore up the psychologically effete. And will the ideals of western civilization be deemed obsolete and terminated with a “pink slip” from Omar and the Squad?
The latest and perhaps the most inane brouhaha arose last week when the crowd at a Trump rally began chanting for Omar to return to her country of origin. Perish the thought that someone who doesn’t like our country would want to stay here. After all, how many Holly-weird’s have said if such and such happens they would leave America and go to Canada? I have yet to see a mass exodus. As a knee jerk reaction, I would rather see this unhappy individual go somewhere else than try to ruin the country that has befriended her and given her so much.
Folks, at the risk of being contentious, it is time to stand up for our country, the Constitution, the rule of law and oppose the radical leftist-progressive-socialist policies now embraced by the New Democrat Party. This current mob is not the Democrat Party of FDR and John Kennedy. And by the way, it is not the Democrat-ic Party. Bernie Sanders should know this after his run against Hillary Clinton. However, the old socialist/Marxist is all in with the rest of the twenty Democrat presidential candidates who espouse Medicare for everyone, healthcare for illegal aliens paid for by raising the taxes of citizens, reparations, and a $100 billion housing gift to people with brown skin. Someone with courage should ask Kamala Harris how her proposal is not racist.
Terminations occur all the time and everywhere including foreign policy where the odious Iran nuclear deal got Trump’s pink slip and the destructive NAFTA treaty is on the way out the door. Termination of residence in the US for illegal aliens is occurring after claims of asylum have been adjudicated. Freedom is terminated when laws are broken, except perhaps inside the Washington DC beltway.
And last but not least is perhaps the most fractious and contentious issue regarding termination, pregnancy. As Hillary Clinton once said, “Abortion should be “legal, safe and rare.” The latter is not the case. The Democrats are for women’s rights regarding decisions about abortion. Someone should speak for the nascent human life within the womb, and so I will, despite the attacks I will receive for my advocacy. You see the only way that abortion can be defended is with the dehumanization of unborn babies. Those politically incorrect words will “hurt” the ears of some who will want to terminate my freedom to speak.
I don’t believe Omar and the Squad will destroy America. In fact, I want Omar, AOC and the Squad to stay and remain spokesmen of the New Democrat Party. They have pulled back the wizard’s curtain to reveal the true nature of modern Democrats, often hidden from the American people.
So bring on the debate. If the American people side with the Squad, then so be it. I can accept a termination pink slip at this time in my life.