The Return of Doctor Death? | Street Jazz

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Return of Doctor Death?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2007 at 11:20 PM

Maybe it's just me, but a chill went down my spine as I read this entry in Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

Simmons seeks to save with clinics: Poultry producer says on-site treatment cuts absences, insurance costs

For the $10 co-pay, the company's employees can visit a doctor at their plant in Siloam Springs, or with the nurse practitioners found at their other plants.

I guess if you haven't spent much time in factories, this seems like good news. And maybe I am giving in to the cynical side of my nature. But I remember too many experiences with "company doctors" over the years. The role of a company doctor often seemed to be to get you back to work as quickly as possible.

Sometimes the needs of the company took precedence over the health of the workers.

At one time there was a doctor in Fayetteville whose clinic was utilized by many factory workers; he was usually the one we were sent to. He was often referred to as "Doctor Death" behind his back, because you might end up well in the short term, but less healthy in the long-run.

My point being this - if a nurse/practitioner or clinic works for the company, and isn't independent, who gets priority - the worker who shouldn't be at work, or the factory that needs people on the assembly line? Where do their loyalties lie?

I found a great article on the subject at:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=990CE5D81038F932A15756C0A963958260

"EARNING IT; Can a Visit to the Company Doc Help a Cold but Hurt a Career?"

The article is from the 1990s, but still highly relevant today.

So the question remains: Who gets the loyalty? The man or woman who is sick, or those who own the clinic?

******

It's official - Tracy and I have gone through the process of a non-binding resolution (oh, those wacky folks in Congress!) and have resolved that "Trog," starring Joan Crawford, may be the worst movie ever shown on Turner Classic Movies.

The plot - such as it is - involves the discovery of a Troglodyte." and the efforts of the very unscientific scientist played by Ms. Crawford, to teach him to catch a ball, play with a doll, and say the word "Blue."

In one scene a reporter asks the scientist, "Is this creature dangerous?"

To which she replied, "I let my own daughter feed him."

At which point I yelled at the screen, "Of course you would, you're Joan Crawford!"


rsdrake@nwark.com

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