Triage

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TRIAGE:

Not Exactly a Household Word -- But,
Unfortunately, It Will Be!
 

As sad as it may seem, Americans will have to be prepared for an up-and-coming "Triage Issue," wherein healthcare in particular, and care of all kinds in general, will be limited.  The idea of rationing does not conjure up an ideal image of the greatest healthcare system in the world, but, as an indicator, "The Wall Street Journal" ran a four part series in October of 2003 warning us that rationing is already here. 

The shortage of caregivers CURRENTLY is only the harbinger of things to come, as we move from an over age 65 population of 38 million, to one of 78 million during the next three decades.  Who's going to be willing to provide the needed care?

From The Book:  (Excerpted from the three page chapter)

"When I was writing the first edition of "Guarding Your Gold," four years ago, an old pal of mine, Bob Mead, a Korean War US Army veteran , was reviewing some of the chapters, put them down and said, in a word, "Triage."  I didn't know what he was talking about.  So I asked.  "Triage is an old battlefield term," Bob replied, "wherein the most seriously wounded are treated first.  On the battlefield, there are only so many doctors, nurses, and medics available , and after a major confrontation, soldiers are treated in accordance with their wounds—the most serious first—and on down the line until the minor injuries are treated last.  Rationing, so to speak."  Makes sense.  Then he added, "That's what American health care is going to become." …It already has come to have real and common meaning in the medical field—seriously, and obviously…"

"The Caregiver issue is probably the most serious of all these items—and leads to the topic—triage.  Who's going to be around to provide for both medical and long term care needs when the projections turn into reality?  We are already aware that we are short some 300,000 nurses currently, with that number having the probability of reaching 800,000 before it hopefully turns around by the end of the decade." 

"As the "Age of Arthritis" is about to begin, doctors, nurses, and caregivers in general, are going to be scarce for the masses…  When we take into consideration all of the above, don't we seriously have to ask ourselves, as Bob did, are triage and rationing on their way to becoming household words?  Who's going to be first in line, according to their needs, and who's going to be last?  Time, and not enough of it, will tell."


 

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