Today’s NYT has a story on declining numbers of young doctors who want to come to upstate New York to practice. (The story centers on Binghamton.) This is a trend that is affecting wider swaths of rural America as well. Doctors want to go where the money is, and that is in BosWash, not here. Another concern for the huge heap of concerns about upstate life.
Even in the Syracuse area most of the doctors are firmly entrenched in the wealthier eastern suburbs. I only know of two practices in my immediate area, and one of them never appears to take new patients. The last time I dragged myself out to Fayetteville (to a huge relatively new medical complex that shall remain nameless), I came away swearing that I would never go out there again unless I was barfing up a lung. These places are overwhelmed with more patients than they can reasonably handle, and it’s taking a toll on the basic quality of the experience of seeing a doctor. It’s worse than being on an assembly line, and it just didn’t used to be like that. The more medical advances (drugs, tests, procedures) we have, the more the human quality of care (waiting room times, staff helpfulness and friendliness, accuracy) goes down. Maybe this too is a function of local doctor shortages?
“They can go to a big city and make a lot more money, and I can’t blame them,” Ms. Ringsmuth said. “But the doctors who are here are probably overworked. If they can’t figure out what’s wrong with you right away, they send you to somebody else.”
Or they say “Take two ——‘s and call me in the morning, if you can get through, and if my staff correctly wrote down what the details of your complaint were…”
I’m pretty healthy, but quite honestly, alternative medicine may be worth reading up on, if only because it means I wouldn’t have to go out there again. I know I should look for a new doctor, but I’ve been so soured on the medical experience the last couple times, that I don’t feel inclined to even though I know I should be doing it. It gives me a new appreciation of the difficulties that the inner-city poor have in finding access to medical services (and why they go to the emergency room for everything), or information about alternative medicine, for that matter.
Declining returns on investments in complexity…