Given the continuing red hot politics of healthcare in the 2012 elections, it was with special interest that I read an article titled Big Med in the August 13 issue of The New Yorker by the influential surgeon, public health researcher, and writer, Atul Gawande.
In it, Dr. Gawande treats our concern with the direction, cost and quality of American medical care by examining recent trends in “large-scale, production-line medicine.”
The author’s observations are, to say the least, intriguing, and, to the extent that they are an accurate forecast of the future, a bit unsettling for lay readers, myself emphatically included.
Conservatives may find standardized medical care a scarifying example of Big Brother run amok, whereas liberals will be concerned about the preservation of human dignity under such a system. Both sides must, however, be impressed with its seemingly steely efficiency.
Dr. Gawande himself is a bit ambivalent about the prospect of “Big Med”, but, in addressing it, he has produced a highly readable and challenging article.