Is it reasonable to expect doctors to give refunds when they fail to deliver benefits to patients suffering from back and/or neck pain?
It’s a fascinating and thought provoking prospect, albeit a somewhat obscure notion by today’s ‘professional’ and cultural standards, isn’t it?
We live more and more within a litigious society, with ever-increasing numbers of patients seeking to obtain justice through the court systems after the outcomes they were led to believe were imminent yet after months, and often years of expensive treatment, ultimately failed to be realised. Yet why should it necessarily be the case that the only remaining course of action available to sufferers is to sue doctors or other health care professionals for negligence or failure to deliver relief? This is especially pertinent when we consider that so many other suitably qualified professionals are required, in the normal course of doing their business, to reimburse or forgo fees when they fail to meet agreed expectations.
Clearly, and issue within this debate is the apparent potential for abuse by those who might seek to falsify an apparent ‘failure’ for their own financial advantage. Without doubt, there are other potential factors beyond the control of the doctor that would cast considerable doubt over responsibility, and although this is undeniably true, what is also undeniably true is that many genuinely aggrieved sufferers continue to be denied justice because of the far-too-easy defence that it is simply too difficult to police any system that highly rewards in the event of ‘success’ yet delivers little or no accountability in the event of failure. The other aspect needing to be considered on the negative side of the argument regarding reimbursement when satisfactory outcomes have failed to materialise is that any falsification or denial of benefit would need to be weighed in the exact same manner as it is for compensation under negligence under the present litigation system. When we objectively consider this matter at any depth beyond the implausible, the only defence of ‘it would all be too hard to police’ suddenly falls into the realm of a smokescreen at best. At the end of the debate, if members of any industry, even including those who purport to be vital contributors to the ‘healing’ industry fail to deliver, is there any plausible argument as to why they should remain immune or exempt from economic justice in the eyes of their patients?
I do believe, as I’m confident that the majority of readers believe, that most people are fundamentally honest, and yet so many issues involving the law as it relates to justice, are tailored to tighten potential loopholes that the dishonest minority might exploit, rather than protecting the honest majority. You might well be asking yourself, what has all this specifically to do with neck and back pain, and how might it be applied to justice? Call me ideological, however I’m more than a little persuaded that the ‘cash-cow’ back and neck pain industry would perform a whole lot more efficiently and reputably if there was a fairer level of accountability toward the patient than at present. Currently, the only avenue available for compensation from injustice is the legal system, yet if a system that pegged results directly to financial return was to be adopted, or even raised for consideration, I have little doubt that millions of back and neck pain sufferers would be immediately treated with far more respect and dignity than the way so many currently are.
If the all-care-but-no-responsibility philosophy that characterised my own ten-year battle with back pain is anything to go by, and countless sufferers ever since have told me precisely the same story, then a drastic change of priorities is a sorely-needed and long-overdue outcome. It has been suggested by a widely diverse group of commentators that the exclusive immunity enjoyed within the medical fraternity regarding accountability is one that has no valid basis, particularly when compared to other professions. To put it bluntly, why should doctors not be held just as accountable as any other profession? Why should a doctor expect to retain all of the substantial fees charged after a treatment regime concludes having achieved no appreciable improvement? Shouldn’t the patient expect to receive some sort of justice if a failed series of treatments leaves the patient in an unimproved condition, or for that matter, worse than when the treatment commenced?
Such an industry that addresses this anomaly would be a far cry to the one that sufferers of back and neck pain have been forced to endure over the past few decades. The industry has been sadly typified by under-performing ‘specialists’ who charge outrageous consultation and treatment fees, often expecting the sufferer to wait unrealistic times between treatments, then ultimately fail to enhance the standard of living quality for the sufferer, yet they still keep the fees. By what stretch of any painful imagination is that considered justice for those who are in pain, already vulnerable, and often desperate for help?
Having not only endured my own ten-year battle for pain relief under the ‘management’ of professionals who charged me a fortune for their failures, I also managed to survive the repeated disappointments and their prognoses of doom, to eventually arrive at a place of self-help that has defied the ‘professional’ opinions and has delivered for me a recovery that has lasted for over twenty years. Had my recovery been some sort of isolated achievement, I would be compelled to disqualify myself from any position of authority, however after having helped tens of thousands of sufferers to achieve the same life-changing results, and in the process to defy the predictions of the industry ‘professionals’, I feel this empowers me to make some sort of appropriate and informed comments on the subject.
In a wide variety of circumstances, when properly and suitably instructed, many of those who had unwittingly found themselves so hopelessly lost within an industry regime that continued to fail them catastrophically now find themselves restored and rehabilitated to a standard of life long-since thought impossible. This has been accomplished simply by the sufferer regaining the control and authority that ‘professionals’ had long ago attempted to relieve them of. For most back and neck pain sufferers, here is a truth that can change your life: ’The best person in the world who can help you, is you, if, and only if, you are taught how’… and for the record, if my back or neck pain self-help regimes cannot help you to improve the quality of your life, then I don’t deserve to retain one single cent you have paid me.

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