Thursday, June 24, 2010

Riding the Circuit

Oregon Highway 197 provides spectacular, forever views of rolling hills to the east and all of the snow-capped Cascades to the west. (Mt. Adams, above).

“The Circuit Rider” is a monumental statute in Portland’s South Park Blocks depicting a larger-than-life judge on a horse, sheltered from the elements with a flowing cape. Yesterday, my shelter on my circuit was an air conditioned car. Clients in The Dalles and Redmond present compelling, heart-wrenching examples of what is wrong with a system of delivering medical “care” that is run by profit-seeking organizations. People and doctors have become the raw materials for profits to some big corporations.

Like much of Norman Rockwell America, gone in places like The Dalles is the "Marcus Welby, M.D." ideal of a caring doctor who develops a long-lasting bond with the patient he protects and serves above all else. Today, too many doctors have lost their independence because they must serve their corporate employers or bend to the will of insurance companies. It's the system that has gone bad, not the doctors, who, I'm sure, would gladly step into the shoes of Marcus Welby if not crippled by student loan debt.I've heard of some doctors who buck the trend by developing a "nanopractice," in which they represent just a few patients and keep overhead down. I hope the nanopractice trickle becomes a flood and shows people there good care can be afforded when you cut out the corporate masters.

Bend was pleasant with sidewalk dining to take advantage of the great weather. I found a place at Marz’s bar, where I encountered a comrade trial lawyer, with whom to enjoy my meal.

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