2011-09-16

Team Diabetes

As I mentioned the other day, my experience on the insulin pump put me at odds with my health care team. The experience has left me a changed man. The "discussion" I had with members of my health care team certainly resembled an argument. I feel terrible about this, not because I argued with people who only had good intentions, but rather because the beliefs of my health care team (at least with respect to the pump) seem to be so at-odds with my body and my needs. The point is that I should not have to fight so hard to return to a therapy that worked for me, that made me happy. It made me realize that our health care system wants for individual care.

Having a great deal of exposure to all sides of the health care system both professionally and personally, I am aware of the guidelines and recommendations published by organizations such as CADTH, whose objective is to minimize public health care expenditure. It seems to me that there is a direct conflict of interest between any health care practitioner engaged in "cost-minimization" and the health care needs of the patient. The question of what is the most (statistically) cost-effective treatment path should never enter into the doctor's mind, if the doctor is to be truly medically objective.

The lone goal of a health care practitioner should be to exercise their personal judgement regarding what the best treatment is for the patient, and to communicate to the patient what that treatment is, and how it compares to the viable alternatives. If not this, then what is health care?

For all the yammering against the profit motive in health care that goes on out there, I would rather my doctor base his or her decisions on what is best for them individually than I would have them base their decisions on what's good for the faceless bureaucratic system. I am a patient. If the system does not deliver optimal care to me, then the system must be changed. All any of us should care about is whether we obtain the best health care we are capable of obtaining. All else is politics.

Suffice it to say, I have decided to show up to the next Information Session for the Canadian Diabetes Association's "Team Diabetes" initiative. This is really a no-brainer for me: It combines my interests in running and diabetes into a single channel and allows me to engage in what little systemic change and patient advocacy I can.

If you're in the Ottawa area, you should drop by, too. Make sure to wear your Stationary Waves t-shirt and say hello to me while you're there.

Time:        6:00 pm
Location:  Canadian Diabetes Association Office
Address:   45 Montreal Road
RSVP:       michele.blackstock@diabetes.ca or (613) 688-5929