20 September 2012

Day 100: Will a Doctor's Handwriting be Legible in an Equal Money System?

 "Two people in the United States just died in the last hour. Seventeen more will die in the next 7 to 8 hours. Over a year, that number will accumulate to about 7,000.

The reason? Medical errors that include misread or otherwise misinterpreted handwritten prescriptions. Believe it. This means that doctors are being sloppy, pharmacies are making mistakes and people are getting dead.

Source: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/12/medical-errors-involve-handwritten-prescriptions.html

So - what's the deal with doctors not writing properly?

The story I was told when I asked my mom about it, is that doctors study for a very long time. And during their studies at university, they have to take note of almost everything the professor is saying - and they have to do that for years on end. And because of having to write really fast during their studies, their handwriting 'suffers' under it - in that it becomes less and less possible for someone else to understand what the medical student is writing.

Now - that's a nice story, and sure - we all know doctors study for several years, and yes, they probably have to write a lot. But, once a practitioner, you're not studying anymore and you can't use that excuse anymore. Seriously - it only takes a few days to re-program your handwriting by practicing a new one. I used to do it all the time in high school, whenever I wanted to try out a 'new personality', I would change my handwriting and after a few days of practice, there it was!

So - I'm sure if I as a teenager could do it, that doctors could too. So, why aren't they?

From where I'm standing, it seems doctors use their handwriting as a status-symbol - a way to lift themselves above others in society - because 'look at how much I have studied!', 'look at how much knowledge I have!'.

The fact is, however, that writing out a prescription is part of someone being a doctor, and no matter how much knowledge you have - if you can't write your prescriptions in a way that it is legible, not only to the pharmacist, but to the patient as well - then you're a crappy doctor.

In refusing to change their handwriting, doctors are actually stating that their egos are more important than the health of their patients - and these are the people we entrust our health and our lives with?

In an Equal Money System, things would be different. Obviously, because there will be no money and thus no 'status' attached to being a doctor. If you want to become a doctor, you become a doctor and you'll probably be a damn great doctor, because you're actually interested in helping people.

And if you're a doctor out of actual concern for your patients, then, obviously, you'll make sure you are the best doctor you can be, and make sure that you excell in your job and in all areas of it - and that includes writing out prescriptions.

Doctors in an Equal Money System will understand their responsibility within what it means to be a caretaker and to be entrusted with another's health and another's life - because their job is not a means to an end (money), but it is an end in itself. Avoidable mistakes that can lead to graver injury and even death due to illegible handwriting will therefore no longer occur - because doctors won't be caught up by their egos trying to get attention and recognition, but will have both feet on the ground.
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