I have read many blogs and comments about this letter trying to defend it as not being racist because he never says specifically the girl is black. With his choice of descriptive stereotypes he wants the girl’s race to be known or he would have made better choices in describing the situation. This is where I will offer my assistance to edit the letter he wrote to convey the same message without racially charged descriptions – while still conveying the heart of the message.
While working the night shift in the ER, I was evaluating a patient. This patient caught my attention for having exceptional dental work, contemporary clothes & shoes, elaborate tattoos and a first-class cellphone. Noticing these items, I felt they were extravagant for someone listing Medicaid as the payer status. Following through on the patient’s evaluation, I also discovered this patient was a smoker and may also have an issue with alcohol, both costly vices. My concern was not only the patient’s health, but the commentary of how this situation speaks to societal woes.
As the President and Congress address health care issues, using our tax dollars to finance them; I hope that education of lifestyle choices could be also addressed. I understand many have not had the advantages in life I have had and feel education of how to make healthy lifestyle choices could help to begin addressing some of these cultural issues that concern me as a health professional. Living in a state with high poverty and unemployment; making these educational and life skills training mandatory with accepting government assistance could begin to improve our nations health as well as societal conditions as a whole.
I feel that my version is not only racially unbiased but also is even gender nonspecific but most importantly offers a possible solution instead of just complaining.
Second – is Dr. Roger Starner Jones’ original letter with my interpretation injected as a narrative in red showing how I perceive what he really wanted say based on the attitude in his writing:
Dear Sirs: (Anyone that will listen)
During my last night’s shift in the ER (I did not want to work last night), I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient (and I actually had to do some work with a patient while there.) with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone (She was a stereotypical black girl.). Glancing over the chart (To confirm my prejudice,), one could not help noticing (I stuck my nose in her business to see her payer status.) her payer status: Medicaid (It was MY tax money giving her medical attention and no one else… just my tax dollars alone.). She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes (She has a perfectly legal bad habit that is really none of my business but I will comment on it anyway because it adds to my point because she does not smoke those generic less expensive cigarettes but smokes something high-end like Virginia Slims or Benson & Hedges) every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer (and she still manages to use alcohol to escape the misery her life must be.). And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? (As a medical professional, I am supposed to help someone like this? I should care about someone like this?) Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. (Our nations heath care crisis has nothing to do with me and is all to be blamed on poor people like her.) It is a crisis of culture (In this culture I never have been a part of,)—a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self (this 20 something attitude, I never got to experience because I had Daddy’s money and chose med school. I was studying and never got to have any cool life experiences.) or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance (My Dad always paid my health insurance until I had a job that covered me and I never had to worry about health insurance so I cannot understand why poor people can’t just buy health insurance of their own.). It is a culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me” (I am jealous for never getting to feel carefree because I am soooo responsible and no one has ever helped me.). Life is really not that hard. (Again, I have had an easy life and have no concept of a life of poverty so I feel free to condemn it.) Most of us reap what we sow (As I say this sh*t I hope there is no such thing as Karma). Don’t you agree? (Are there other narrow-minded jerks that can only think of themselves and validate my hostility about those less fortunate whom I can blame all of society’s problems?)
STARNER JONES,MD (AND ME SARCASTICALLY INTERPRETING)
Jackson, MS (Aactually I live in Mississippi also)
I am attempting to be sarcastic, but he was not – that is what is so sad to me!
Doctor Roger Starner Jones is a seventh generation Mississippian and his extracurricular interests are golf, hunting, fishing and college football. He specializes in emergency medicine at The University of Mississippi medical Center. (http://spotlight.vitals.com/2009/10/dr-roger-starner-jones-muses-crisis-culture/)
He is a doctor that plays golf from Mississippi, that enjoys hunting and fishing!! lol He is such a stereotypical cliché himself!! lol 😀
- Health Care on Facebook: Physician, Heal Thyself! (beliefnet.com)
Well put little brother. Your point of view should be read by those that jumped on that band wagon with out a second thought of their OWN.
Well put, Thomas! It is unfortunate that this patient pisses her money away. However, the good doctor is using the ever-so-common misguided argument of I-don’t-want-to-pay-for-someone-else’s-healthcare. (Veiled translation: I’m a middle class white man. I’m not sharing with someone [beneath] me.)
What many opponents to healthcare reform fail to see is that whether in a structured setting or not, those that have pay for those who do not. Under our current healthcare system, the uninsured usually don’t pay their bill to the hospital. What does the hospital do? They raise their rates everywhere else, which the insured must then cover.
Therefore, why not strive for a model where everyone is insured…and also rein in the insurance companies and keep them accountable for not dropping patients with illnesses that accrue large bills?
You are my HERO!! lol Thanks!
I agree totally! Last year health insurance companies (on average) posted a 26% increase in profits (according to Real Time with Bill Maher). I feel we need more health insurance company reform than health reform. More policing of the “system” is needed, but it does not make the system BAD! The Medicare system can be improved, but a government option, I feel, is needed to reign in cost for private insurance companies (competition). What is out there now is bubble gum & Band-Aides but it is more than there was and still much improvement in the public and private health care sectors is needed.
Mr. Starner Jones MD, Congratulations on your good fortune, having received a good education and now having a respected career as a doctor. Now perhaps you can have a little compassion for people not as fortunate as yourself. I don’t think your political views or self-righteous attitude belong in the ER. You shouldn’t be standing in judgement of the people that you’re so handsomely compensated to care for. I’m a 59 year old white male, if I came into your ER I’d have on expensive eyewear, designer clothes, I’d have my $600. phone with me. But if you looked at my payer status you’d see NO INSURANCE. So what judgments are you going to have about me on Facebook? What you wouldn’t know is I acquired those expensive things when I was earning a six figure income. Which I no longer have. I’ve not worked for 2 years and have lived off saving and credit cards. I can’t afford healthcare, I’ve had to sell my home and everything in it Just to get by. If you don’t like helping the people you care for or if your going to stand in judgement of the people you care for, maybe you shouldn’t be a doctor maybe you should be a Republican politician.