I'm not going to fill this article with statistics and "Did You Know" facts. I think that's the point in healthcare where we lose the sense of patient care and fall into stocks and marketing. That should not be a priority in healthcare. I've learned, unfortunately, through personal experience, that healthcare does revolve around that.
So let me start off by saying that I am shocked and perplexed that even in first world countries, patients die due to policies and quotas, approvals, evaluations, and signatures. Insurance companies deny patients the critical care that they need on the mere basis of this checklist. They assign patients certain dates on which their plans will "go into effect" and quite frankly some (if not most) of these patients do not have that time. All they can do is remain calm and wait. And if that wasn't all, their doctors also have to suffer at the hands of these aforementioned policies. They have to make phone calls and seek out loopholes.
For example, I have encountered a patient in the oncology ward who could not see her oncologist and cardiologist on the same date because her "insurance did not approve and authorize the visits." That is preposterous. This poor woman and her family probably have other things on their mind...like treatment. Getting to appointments and sticking to their medication regimen should be their only concern.
On another more personal note, while I tried to get one of my own family members the treatment they need for a serious illness, I was told to wait for approvals. I think if it weren't for the team of doctors who have been so supportive, I would have been a mere case number. A worried family member who remained on a waitlist. Wasting valuable time (I was told three months) that could be spent on getting treatment.
I am a very patient individual but these policies have taught me that being patient gets you no results. You have to be assertive and speak with authority (while still being kind and not outright rude). And that is hard. At times, these people on the other end of the line have treated me like a child. But I've had to remain calm, collected, and cogent. And persistent.
But seriously! Who has time for all that nonsense? My top priority should not have been that. It should've been to make my family member comfortable. The doctor should not have to spend hours being transferred from office to office to get their patient the treatment they need. There are immigrant patients who have family members who do not even speak English. They do not have a grasp of these procedures. There are patients who have no family and they cannot be put on hold. There are patients who need medication but their insurance does not allow their doctors to refill their prescription because "it's too soon for a refill. You picked your medication up 20 days ago. You need to wait." No. They. Cannot. Wait.
People in third world countries die because they do not have access to good doctors. I did not know that people in first world countries also die because they have to wait to get access to good doctors. We have a gift. But no means to get the gift. The gift is on the other end and there is no proper bridge that connects the patient to that gift. And for that reason, I say such a gift is not a gift at all, but rather a mirage.
So until all of these grievances are addressed, no matter how great the doctors are, we will always have high mortality rates and not because of medicine, but due to the lack thereof.