Who makes the rules?

A common theme in the comments I receive is frustration over preparing for future medical events when one lacks the license to do so.

Why makes the rules, anyway?

Is is fair that only doctors can prescribe antibiotics?  Does the government really care about our welfare?  Or are health laws an impediment to responsible citizenship?

Six months ago my son broke his femur and underwent surgery.  I’m pretty sure I’m glad his doctor was not only experienced, but licensed.  It adds a level of confidence.

But then, it seems ridiculous to me that hearing aids cost thousands of dollars, when the iPad my daughter wants is under $600 (with the lime-green case).

Or why should I pay $200 for eyeglasses when you can get cheater-readers for a few bucks at the Dollar Store?  Who made those rules?

Take antibiotics, for example.  Should a person need a license to prescribe amoxicillin? As one reader said, how hard can it be to take amoxicillin for a sinus infection? That would be a healthy person talking, one who hasn’t experienced C. diff, or MRSA, or penicillin-resistant pneumonia, or meningococcal meningitis, someone who hasn’t watched a baby die of Haemophilus influenzae or pertussis. Most people are healthy, and only take antibiotics for minor respiratory, urinary, or skin infections.  They haven’t really considered the life-saving role antibiotics can play, nor the life-endangering side-effects they can cause, nor the issue of antibiotic resistance due to wide-spread use.

The focus here is not antibiotics, but rather the question of regulation of health care. Regulations can help, regulations can hurt.  The frustration for preppers is primarily that of lack of access to medicine that may be life-saving in the future.  If no doctor is available, isn’t it only fair to be able to treat yourself with something that might help rather than follow the rules and possibly die? I side with the first option.

Education is the key to taking care of oneself and one’s family.  To that end I’m doing what I can to assist.  My book’s nearly done – the first edition anyway.  How does one cram everything a person might need to know into a single volume? It can’t be done, but I’ve got to stop somewhere (and my kids have to eat, too).  So far I’ve dedicated a thousand hours to the effort.

I’ve always been one to follow the rules, at least most of them (no speeding tickets, though I’m not above jaywalking), but the truth is, you don’t need a medical license to do much of what doctors do.

Is there some way I can assist, some question you may have? I’ll try to give an answer for times when the rules won’t apply.  In the meantime, I’ll respect regulations that are primarily intended for our own good.

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About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
This entry was posted in Medications, Perennial Favorites, Preparation, Prescription Medications, Public health. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who makes the rules?

  1. james says:

    While I feel hampered sometimes in my prepping, my former medical director(an excellent ED Doc) told me something one day that still sticks with me. He said, “If I do what I know needs to be done, but have limited experience doing, and I succeed, it’s no big deal. However, if I fail and there was someone who was a better choice to do the procedure, then it is a big deal, a catastrophe for me and the patient. Always, always, use the most appropriate provider! Don’t do things just because you can!”

    Do you think you could be disciplined enough to go to a doctor for you and your family before things got bad, if you could just go to the pharmacy?
    I doubt I would, but we all should.

  2. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Regarding the antibiotic resistance from widespread use: In many countries anyone can buy antibiotics without a prescription. Antibiotics are given massively to cattle, chickens, and other farm animals as a preventative. Considering this, what value in the struggle to prevent antibiotic resistence is limiting Americans from buying antibiotics over the counter??? I suspect this is about money. My doctors visit when I have a sinus infection costs me $84 while the antibiotics costs about $12. Why, then, would a doctor want me to be able to buy antibiotics without a prescription?

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