Public Is To Blame for Many of Our Health Care Problems

To take just two examples, the measles vaccine and techniques to prevent infant suffocation can’t work if people refuse to use them.

Providers can’t help people if people ignore their advice, argues Elaine Cox, MD, CMO of Riley Children’s Health in Indianapolis. In a hard-hitting opinion piece in U.S. News & World Report this morning, Riley takes the public to task over poor decisions, focusing specifically on the recent measles outbreak and infant suffocation.

Choice, Cox argues, comes with responsibility, and poor decisions such as refusing to have children vaccinated and doing the simple things that make the environment infants sleep in safe, have societal ramifications.

“For example, measles can endanger lives in anyone who is very young, on chemotherapy or on any number of other therapies that suppress the immune system,” Cox writes. “Data to show both the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine is readily available.”

Meanwhile, people seem more in tune with celebrities “posting photographs of their newborn baby with at least five risk points for suffocation notable in the picture. While it seems that the influence of the physician should go farther than a reality TV star, this is unfortunately not the case.”

Inproving quality while cutting costs in health care is a “laudable” goal, writes Cox. “However, providers cannot and should not be responsible for all of the math in that equation: We all own factors that impact the final answer.”