How Health Care Kills People

My Dad, William R. O'Rourke, Jr., passed away on Sunday, December 27, 2009; a day after his 72nd birthday (details here for friends and family). He suffered from CLL, a form of leukemia and had a tough battle during his final days. Dad was a terrific man. He had a distinguished career as a highly dedicated Air Force officer and pilot. He was a consultant to, ironically, the health care industry and served as a contract executive for a number of firms. He was a professor and intellectual while being a very down to earth and personable man and I loved him very much. Thanks for everything Dad - you will be missed.

We all have or had fathers and many of us are lucky enough to have received their support and love during our lives. Given this, what is painful to see first hand is the nature of the health care system they enter into when they are very ill. My experience personally during the past year is wrought with evidence of a dysfunctional system. When people get really sick, its broken nature becomes all the more apparent. This is not meant as an affront to the many professionals who attempted to provide care, nor is it about being able to afford care because Dad thankfully had the means. My sentiments are based on witnessing a SYSTEM that fails to provide quality because it is based on flawed economics.

If you haven't read David Goldhill's New Yorker article, How American Health Care Killed My Father, you must. See some of his views above in the video. While my Dad was ill, I can promise you the quality of his life and his experience of care was woeful and would have been much better if the system were changed fundamentally. David's testimony above reflects many of the same things I experienced.  As a business executive like me, David began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. He has a radical solution to this agonizing problem.