Are you on IM now?

Here’s an email I just received:

“i’m not a current patient but i am not near a phone and need some ASAP medical advice, i promise i won’t sue you, please help me.”

Welcome to my life. Obviously, this person is hurt or worried and is in need of something. Maybe it’s my reassuring words? Or maybe she’s got something life-threatening? I don’t know. And I can’t know, even though I want to know. This is why I went into medicine– to help people who need me. But the current system won’t allow me to provide any expertise. In fact, it’s illegal– and they know it (“I promise I won’t sue you”). So I never give any medical advice to anyone, no matter what people say to me over the internet. I don’t even practice medicine anymore. It’s been over two years since I saw a patient. 

We live in a failed system. When people don’t have insurance, when people don’t have a doctor…who do they turn to? Some random doctor they see on the internet? 

They have nobody.

They should be turning to a system that takes care of their health. They should be turning to a system that provides basic needs for a society– one where you can get advice and comfort and health without bankrupting you. 

I’m in London right now. There’s not a single person in this country who went bankrupt from medical needs last year. This is civilization. Our country is living in the dark ages…