Monday, July 9, 2012

Seeing the Invisible

Dr. D, my preceptor for the IBPCA program, is setting a good example in many ways. One example is her generosity in the groups of patients she sees. There is much brouhaha currently about physicians in private practice seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients. But I have never heard any discussion (from physicians, politicians, or mediamen) about two groups that Dr. D sees: prisoners and institutionalized, mentally retarded adults.

In two days Dr. D saw seven female inmates in between her everyday patients. She also saw two mentally handicapped adults coming from an institution with their caregivers. These patients require more paperwork, take up more waiting room space (for guards and caregivers), and are more medically complex. Moreover, she told me the prison has defrauded her of some thirty-odd thousand dollars, which she is successfully appealing for, bit by bit. Nevertheless, she serves these patients as carefully and attentively as she does her successful, healthy, PPO-insured patients.

I was edified, excited, and inspired by this. I want to do the same! I will add one more invisible group, not usually mentioned: consecrated people, e.g. priests and religious sisters. (I have wanted to be "the nun's doctor" for a long time.) Going forward, I will add inmates and the institutionalized to the convents--I want to be the doctor to the invisible.

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