Maybe, like me, you have had experiences that make you wonder where conscience has gone. Because it seems to have disappeared in this current world of ours.
Two really good doctors we see brought this to mind recently. Our GI doctor tells us his findings after a colonoscopy, right then and there. If a biopsy shows something different, used to be he’d call. But now, as a matter of routine, everyone must come back to the office for a follow-up visit in which we chat with the physician’s assistant. About nothing meaningful. This is a new “requirement.”
It’s about the buck
Since this office is 20 miles away, this whole process takes half a day, between getting ready, getting there, having that useless visit and getting home. This happened to M but when it’s my turn this month I’m going to find a way to resist that second visit. Because it’s all too clear it’s about REVENUE. Doctors don’t like the pittance they are reimbursed by insurance companies, so they’ve found a way to generate incremental revenue by inconveniencing us.
My dermatologist removed a mole last month, but when I asked her to do several, she said that insurance would not permit her to do more than one a month, that they suspected it was “abusive.” Huh? So I would have to cart myself back for a three minute procedure each time. That same 40 mile round trip and half a day. I KNEW it was about revenue but called the insurance company just in case it wasn’t. The insurance company said they had never heard of such a requirement and were truly flummoxed. I wasn’t. I knew it was a way to get more revenue out of us and out of our insurance company.
The buck stops
I confronted that dermatologist and she admitted that yes, it was that she didn’t get reimbursed. But with the GI doctor, I’m going to resist that second appointment and I’ve plotted several different ways. Make it and cancel. Or call them on it and refuse.
You’d think these kind of rip-offs would create problems for someone’s conscience, but apparently not.
I feel the same way about Der Fuhrer and some of his henchmen. And then a friend sent me an excerpt from The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. It’s about a fictionalized Shostakovich who lived under Stalin and then other rulers. He wanted to do his own kind of music, but The Power wanted his music to reflect The Communist Way. Here’s the excerpt:
In the world’s younger days, when magic and religion held sway, it was plausible that monsters might have consciences. Not any more. The world had moved on, become more scientific, more practical, less under the sway of the old superstitions. And tyrants had moved on as well. Perhaps conscience no longer had an evolutionary function, and so had been bred out. Penetrate beneath the modern tyrant’s skin, go down layer after layer, and you will find that the texture does not change, that granite encloses yet more granite; and there is no cave of conscience to be found.
And herein is the problem today. Try as we might to find one, there is no cave of conscience to be found. Not in medicine and surely not in politics.
It’s been bred out.