I recently was invited to participate in an interfaith panel addressing the health care crisis and proposed solutions. Everyone agreed we have a chronic and complicated health care crisis and there is a real need for real solutions.
February is American Heart Month, and our panel discussion touched on issues related to that topic.
I shared some basic values related to my Islamic faith that steered me to medical school to become a heart doctor. The Holy Koran mentions that if you save one life it's like saving all of humanity. So, it always has been a fascinating and exciting experience when I am successful in getting someone's heart to work again after it stopped or went into a lethal rhythm.
I am able to shock them out of it with the help and grace of God. The feeling I get after the patient gains consciousness is amazing. A human life is sacred and more important than any other financial or social gains.
Personal satisfaction aside, greater challenges await. There is a need for education regarding nutrition. Everyone in the health care industry agrees that smoking, alcohol and unhealthy food items are adding billions to health care costs. I suggest replacing chocolate with dates. I advise all my patients to have a date in their pocket, especially on Sunday morning when they go to church.
We are working on a real affordable health care model that saves thousands of dollars for patients, millions for the local economy and billions for the nation. With the savings, we can help feed the hungry and needy in America. The low-cost quality health care model is now entering its second year giving relief to those who are most vulnerable including women, children, seniors and veterans. This is clearly not a call to be lazy. Everyone who can work should do so. But, for those who cannot, society as a whole can chip in to help.
I volunteer in the Crescent Clinic, which gives free medical care to the less fortunate members of our community. To understand why such clinics are important, consider the patient who has bronchitis and cannot afford treatment. His condition gets worse and he ends up with acute respiratory failure requiring prolonged hospitalization in an intensive care unit. It ends up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and we all pay for that.
We must advocate for patients and their rights, especially for seniors and those who are weak and cannot find anybody to stand up for them. Every American should be able to access basic health care and not be turned down or rejected because of a pre-existing condition.
Being able to pray with patients is also another factor benefiting the patient and the family both psychologically and physically. On more than one occasion, patients or their families requested me to visit them at hospice because they were terminal. It made a big difference to the patient and their family.
So now we can save lives in so many ways. We provide medications, perform life-saving procedures and provide life-sustaining meals. Mostly, though, we must bring the heart back into medicine.
Dr. Adel Eldin is a Brooksville cardiologist.