Naked medicine to me is medicine stripped of politics, corporations, and administrators. Naked medicine is the art of healing with no time constraints, insurance forms, or objective quality indicators. Naked medicine is a concept that is so unknown to most Americans.
The inspiration for this blog title came from a medical retreat held at Breitenbush Hot Springs near Detroit, Oregon. As a medical student in the midwest, I never expected to end up finding so many truths about the American healthcare system there.
I am a 3rd year medical student at an osteopathic medical school. Like most medical students, I entered medical school full of dreams of becoming an “ideal” doctor. I dreamed that I would practice medicine in a way that I would always have time to address the concerns of my patients, tend to all of the needs of my staff, and have a sense of fulfillment at the end of each day. Little did I know that this dream was next to impossible in the current state of American healthcare.
Having gone through the healthcare system as a patient while in medical school, my awe and respect for physicians turned into resentment. I was newly diagnosed with a condition that many medical professionals did not know much about. I felt that from my primary care physicians to specialists, no one could adequately explained how to manage my disease. I was told contradicting things by physicians and began to feel that I couldn’t trust medical advice from anyone. I ended up going from ER to ER getting lumbar punctures while wishing my pseudotumor cerebri was better managed.
After starting rotations, I let go of some of the resentment. I saw how physicians were forced to practice medicine in a way that suppressed individuality. I saw how so much of a physician’s actions was determined by corporate professionals who had no medical background and physicians often had no choice in how their practices were being run. I saw how frustrated physicians were with their jobs and how patients suffered as a result.
I quickly became to realize that so many doctors were living a reality so far from what I had envisioned. So many physicians that I have met over the past few years have been overworked, fed up with their employers, and never seem to have enough time to address all of the concerns of anyone around them. The years of abuse and sleep deprivation that they have experienced during their years of medical training has created a culture of apathy and frustration. Many of them feel that they are not caring for their patients in the way that their patients need.
I was introduced to Dr. Pamela Wible, leader of the ideal medical care movement, when I discovered her fearlessly honest TED talk. She spoke the truth on the current state of the healthcare system and the human rights abuse too many of us medical professionals have faced during our training. I found out that there was a whole movement of people interested in abandoning the rules set by corporate professionals and practicing ideal medical care. I was fortunate to recieve a scholarship to attend the retreat held by Dr. Wible in Breitenbush Hot Springs to learn more.
At Breitenbush, I met approximately 10 other medical students and 40 physicians and healthcare professionals that were just as frustrated with the American healthcare system as me. I heard so many stories of poor decisions while sleep deprived and lack of flexibility at the workplace due to a corporate employer’s decisions. I began to think about how I would like to start my own ideal medical clinic one day and step away from administration. I felt inspired to think that the concept of naked medicine could still exist in our country. I feel even more inspired to realize that there are so many people committed to making the concept of naked medicine a reality. Dr. Pamela Wible is leading the movement on ideal medical care, one medical practitioner at a time.
My call to action to all medical students, physicians, and healthcare professionals reading this is to do whatever it takes to practice truly naked medicine. I invite others to think about what being a physician means to them without considering the expectations of others. I invite others to truly consider if they are providing their patients with the best care. I invite everyone to please consider quitting their jobs and opening an ideal clinic if the answer is no.
For more information on Breitenbush Hot Spring Retreat and Conference center please visit: https://breitenbush.com/
For more information on Dr.Pamela Wible and ideal medical care movement please visit: http://www.idealmedicalcare.org