Failures of Health Care in Urban America - Essay Sample

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1487 words
Boston College
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Critical thinking
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Mother might Be Better off Dead is a disturbing and equally challenging situation that American citizens undergo while seeking health care services. It indeed submerges readers into the kind of lives that impoverished American families lead and by extension Africans. It does show the kind of diseases that these people are surrounded with and are unable to find a lasting solution to. This is unfortunate because they are diseases which are very well known within the inner-cities of America. In this book, however, it is evident that some ways caused failures of health care system. These failures are looked at as whether they were created by health care institutions, health care professionals or the lack of financial assistance.

It is shocking that North Lawndale, a place where this whole story is coming from, is in the shadows of Chicagos loop. Essentially, North Lawndale is from within the neighborhood of Chicagos loop which happens to have some of the best medical facilities and to think that it experiences this, is somewhat confusing. This as can be seen clearly, is a lack of financial assistance from the relevant authority (Gamble, 1997). Someone would fail to understand why it doesnt have the kind of facilities like in their neighborhood hospitals to help them in delivering excellent healthcare services to the residents as the rest do.

One would expect that since North Lawndale is neighboring a community that is well facilitated, the same could be true on their side. This is however not the case as people are very sick and it also true that it is one of the communities that are underserved in the country. This is shocking because it shows lack of financial assistance from the relevant authorities mandated in ensuring that health care services get financial assistance to enable them to deliver health care services to the residents comfortably with minimal inconveniences to patients as expected by everyone (Gamble, 1997). It is because of this that vulnerable people in the society who do not have financial muscles to guarantee them treatment in this kind of facilities suffer the most. As a result, they are compelled to seek treatment elsewhere compounding their problems even further. This is very disturbing in the sense that these quacks do not have the necessary skills and training needed to carry out the kind of services they claim to have ((Berwick & Hackbarth, 2012). This only makes things worse as it puts lives of these innocent patients at a higher risk of not only being diagnosed wrongly but also losing their lives as a result.

On the other hand, the healthcare institutions are also victims of these failures that are continuously derailing progress in the healthcare systems. Institutions fail to provide a proper framework that can enable a better administration of services which is supposed to be strictly followed by the relevant healthcare providers. This is evident in situations where countless crises in medical care ranging from the unclear way of handling kidney dialysis, and unclear way of dealing with emergencies in room visitations. It consequently talks about the trials within the home care and the un-ending eligibilities in medical struggles. These among many things that are continuously happening within the healthcare institutions only do the worst in contributing to the numerous ways through which healthcare systems fail (Berwick & Hackbarth, 2012).

The family story is a deliberate and straightforward effort to showcase a disproportionate as well as the unfairness with which the poor people face while in search of health care services in various health institutions. It does not stop there. It goes further to reveal the inadequacies seen in these heath care operating systems. It tells us that these systems are weakened either directly or indirectly as a result of people being poor. It, however, underscores the fact that in poverty, people easily become sick and what follows, therefore, is that their respective families become more miserable.

Professionalism has significantly contributed to the failures witnessed in the healthcare systems. Health care providers quite often fail to provide or administer services to those who need them most. Despite having had the necessary skills and training, some choose to either deliberately or otherwise not to attend to these patients. This is evident as brought out in this family story where a sick father and three children are left unattended to, compounding further their suffering. Patients with kidney dialysis fail to get the required medications in unexplained circumstances. The issue of those offering medical care choosing to either work or not work is brought to our attention. It is even disturbing that racial politics play a part in the already alarming medical conditions specifically in organ transplant (Homedes & Ugalde, 2005). It is also worth noting that as a result of this we see young children not getting immunization which is very important in preventing diseases which if not taken care of at an earlier stage, could prove dangerous in their later development stage.

While still focusing on professionalism and how it plays out as far as failures in health care institutions are concerned, I was particularly disturbed in the manner one of the patients case was handled. A health care provider, in the pretense of not having the proper skill, decides not to attend to a patient. This healthcare provider cites numerous complexities involved and eventually fails to attend to this patient. As a result, this patient is subjected to spend much time waiting, and sadly without putting into considerations the prolonged waiting and pain suffered as a result, prefers to advise the patient to visit a nearby health institution for a preferred better service (Homedes & Ugalde, 2005). This is however very disturbing because in essence this could and would have been done right there within the institution preventing the unprecedented suffering caused as a result of waiting for long hours. This is purely a behavior and attitude related scenarios where the health care provider without disclosing any apparent reason or reasons fails deliberately to attend to this patient.

In this sad account, it is evident that there is need to change behavior as well as attitude amongst healthcare providers. This is true as they play a critical role in ensuring that patients with different challenges are attended to and therefore a proper mechanism geared towards changing of behaviors and attitude ought to be employed to realize a better healthcare service (Jha et al., 2003). It will foster a reduction in unnecessary referrals. In this unfortunate situation, my role as a social worker would have been to vouch for an avenue or platform through which health care providers and indeed all who are tasked with the mandate of ensuring that the welfare of patients is upheld and get to be talked to. This is precisely for the need to have a change in their behavior and attitude because as witnessed, this component is critical in realizing an efficient and effective healthcare system that attends to all without preferences.

About the code of ethics, I would personally like to state that for there to be an efficient and equally an efficient health care system, health care providers have to practice the highest level of professionalism (Walters & Simoni, 2002).While practicing that, they have to be honest and exercise personal accountability at all times without failures. Subsequently, they should maintain at all times, high levels of competencies as it is outlined in their practicing standards. In their day to day operations, health care providers should at all time strives to promote confidentiality as well as the right to privacy to all as permitted by law.

Adherence to these ethical practices is essential in improving any given health care services. In line with competencies, I would use critical thinking in my communication as I endeavor to inform and communicate judgment professionally to my colleagues, individuals, families as well as organizations. This is very critical in enhancing a smooth operation in the healthcare system. It is therefore paramount to acknowledge the fact that it will be imperative and necessary to brace for the difficulties to help realize the health care reforms which are highly needed in almost all aspects for a better health care institution. Failures that arise in the healthcare system ought to be addressed with urgency in bid to offer quality services to all.


Berwick, D. M., & Hackbarth, A. D. (2012). Eliminating waste in US health care. Jama, 307(14), 1513-1516.

Gamble, V. N. (1997). Under the shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and health care. American journal of public health, 87(11), 1773-1778.

Homedes, N., & Ugalde, A. (2005). Why neoliberal health reforms have failed in Latin America. Health policy, 71(1), 83-96.

Jha, A. K., Perlin, J. B., Kizer, K. W., & Dudley, R. A. (2003). Effect of the transformation of the Veterans Affairs Health Care System on the quality of care. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(22), 2218-2227.

Walters, K. L., & Simoni, J. M. (2002). Reconceptualizing Native women's health: An indigenist stress-coping model. American Journal of Public Health, 92(4), 520-524.

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