Bioethics Discussion Blog: The Devil: One Step Ahead

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Devil: One Step Ahead

Melvin Kirschner, M.D. sent me an e-mail today with the following story. There must be some ethical meaning to it. Can you find it? ..Maurice.

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated
the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red
vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"

And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add
some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure
that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat,
and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to
size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented
Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And
Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil
in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and
chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more
weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake,"
and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it
"Devil's Food."
God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose
those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man
would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and
cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming
with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the
starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and
still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent
double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied,
"Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into
cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.


ADDENDUM 5-23-2007: A Comment posted on Saturday, October 28, 2006 6:26:00 AM, by Richard D. Smith expresses the following on a thread about satire. It probably explains why we are only left to smile with the punchline of the above story referring to HMOs.

From: The Circus of Medicine. Richard Dean Smith, MD


Managed care, an irrational, value-oriented mass medical movement, arose on false and erroneous assumptions by bureaucrats at Dept. of HEW during the 1960s and 1970s, that greed and cutthroat, marketplace competition through managed care would magically solve all problems of providing medical services. Zealots at HEW were followed by faultfinding men-of-words with a grievance who gave the movement its rhetoric. Resistance to the movement was swept away by endless repetition of meaningless clichés, satisfying need of a mass movement for slogans that must be as erroneous as possible directed towards a vague, glorious future. The movement need not profess truth, but it must have a devil, a devil with much good to its credit: its devil was the individual practicing physician. Once common sense and resistance were eliminated, salesmen produced meteoric growth of managed care during the mid-1990s. As managed care gained the upper hand and its promises of future glory faded, the movement was kept alive by fear and coercion: the work of practical men-of-action who are of law, not concerned with ideas of the movement but to preserve their power and wealth. Managed care was perpetuated by a technicality in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) which Congress refused to amend, claiming ERISA was the result of ten years of planning by Congress and that Government had supported managed care in HMO development for over thirty years. The Court acknowledged that inaction of both Court and Congress followed a ‘trail of error’ supporting the ‘gaping wound’ of managed care. The Court realized managed care could not exist without ERISA’s obstruction of justice and fairness, and took the Fifth. Physicians and other providers of medical services tried to make sense of managed care when it was nonsense, a street hustle based on a hoax that went wild. Error piled upon error in woodenheadedness. Attacking such mass madness, a mass hysteria, is the place of satire when common sense, the press, academia, judiciary, legislative bodies, insurance industrial complex and regulatory agencies fail.

3 Comments:

At Thursday, May 24, 2007 1:06:00 AM, Anonymous thestoryofhealing said...

I guess these are one of those "sad but true-and continuing to exist" facts in the country.

I did laugh after reading the story. And I recognized that I still need to learn a lot especially about the policies (and the politics influencing it) in delivering healthcare here in the U.S. It seems that like any system, good or bad, there is a cycle that permits its existence. What is the alternative then?

Thanks for sharing this, Sir.

All the best.

 
At Thursday, May 24, 2007 10:43:00 AM, Anonymous bob koepp said...

Thank god for the devil! I'm glad somebody is looking out for my true interests, which include some pleasurable indulgences. But why, after the long list of really good things the devil has done for humanity, would he create HMOs?

 
At Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Good point, Bob. Could the answer be that the Devil is "on the take" from political lobbyists? After all, a little money or special treatment into the hands of someone of influence or power can give rise to "miracles" or something worse?! ..Maurice.

 

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