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Why health care should start long before you reach the hospital | Michael Dowling

want to improve health, you have to deal with more than
just the provision of medical care. So a lot of what medical
care gets blamed for or what we call the health system,
the hospitals, the docs what we get blamed for are things that we don’t
have direct responsibility for. In the U.S. we have very,
very high mortality, higher than other parts of the world
there are lots of reasons for this. For example, death from gunshot wounds
is included in the mortality stats. Yet, people who work in
health care are not the people who actually kill people with guns. Sometimes, these
statistics get all warped. That doesn’t mean we
shouldn’t be involved. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t
be a catalyst, that we shouldn’t be an influencer, that
we shouldn’t actually be out there in the
communities doing things. Now if you get sick and you
come to a hospital, yeah, we can take care of you. But the issues that
determine your health go way, way beyond just the
provision of medical care. It has to do with lifestyle. It has to do with social circumstance. It has to do with environment, your
family situation, where you live. If you’re living in a very,
very good neighborhood there’s a lot of research done on this
with all of the facilities that you would have in any top,
middle-class, upper-middle-class neighborhood, you will live years
longer than the person who lives in a very, very poor area, in general. So if I want to improve
your health, I’ve got to make sure that I have
doctors, and nurses, et cetera to provide medical care to you. But I’ve also got to figure out how
to work on all of these other things. How do I, for example, make sure
that there is not lead in the house that you live in or in
the apartment building. We had kids living in
homes and it still goes on in many of the buildings
in New York City and elsewhere where the radiators in the homes were
painted with lead paint or lead pipes. Now I can have the doctor go
to that apartment every month and treat that kid. But unless I change the paint, or change
the pipe, or get rid of the radiator, or cover up the radiator,
having a doctor go there every month doesn’t necessarily
overall improve health. So I know somebody in the last
two days that was at the hospital, had an occurrence in one of
our hospitals, goes home. Our hospital sent a
nutritionist to the home. That nutritionist sat
down with that person for a couple of hours, explained
to them how they should be eating. That person, there was a
weight issue not substantial but there was a weight issue, there
was a high blood pressure issue so they explained diet. They then offered to come to
the home and teach the person how to cook those foods that would be
more appropriate to improve health. That’s how we improve health. The hospital did its thing. But if you don’t follow up
and do those other things, that person will be back
in the hospital again.

About Bill McCormick

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