Life Preservation vs Improvement

Dr. Earnest Ceriani makes a home visit to
patients near Kremmling, Colorado, in 1948.
(W. Eugene Smith/Life Magazine)

Emergency departments care for people who feel they’re facing life threats, and others who just want to feel better but can’t find alternative solutions. Even in the busiest ERs most energy is spent caring for the latter. On my last night shift a patient checked in requesting an inhaler. No wheezing. He was traveling and simply left his at home.

Most patients arrive willingly, while others are escorted by paramedics, police, or sometimes by their semi-sober friends. The majority survive regardless of their care thanks to the “life force.” Human bodies are just incredibly resilient. Some fraction are watched overnight just to be prudent. Some are admitted for longer stays and a slice of these receive truly life preserving care.

Pre-R does nothing at all for life preservation. We’re the Jiffy Lube of auto mechanics. Nothing sexy. No high fives. But we hope that by caring for minor problems outside of the emergency medical system, we make life better for our patients and those who really do have life threatening emergencies.

Many who think about improving healthcare draw an analogy between auto and health insurance. You wouldn’t expect your auto insurance company to cover your oil change or your tire repairs. Why involve health insurance for your sore throats, bumps and bruises?

Pre-R addresses those basic acute medical issues that aren’t life threatening, but really could use some attention. Urgent cares are growing in number across the country to address many of these simple problems. We take it one step further by bringing our care to your home.

ER, Ernest Ceriani, House Calls, Pre-R

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