In Chapter 4 “Inner-City Blues”, Dr. Tweedy compares the quality of public versus private hospitals. One striking feature of this passage is the intersection of public health and medicine. Tweedy cites Lucy’s case where he paints her issues as part of a larger societal issue when he says, “Lucy had been a walking billboard for health disparities: hypertension and diabetes are far more common in blacks compared to whites, and black women are almost twice as likely as white women to be obese. ..Some of that was likely the health system’s fault — impersonal, inefficient, inferior care. But much of it stemmed from Lucy’s cultural surroundings… All too often, patients at Grady delayed treatment until forced to come to the emergency room” (83 Tweedy). This passage highlights that a doctor’s role is only one part of a whole system. Doctors can only do so much, only as much as the health system permits. In Lucy’s case, Tweedy is only able to treat her in the emergency room setting, but is unable to monitor her developments and warn her of the hazards of her cultural environment.
With the COVID-19 crisis, we thank the Doctors and healthcare staff, but also the people that allow the doctors to do their job are public officials, governors, and the government. In the news we often hear of doctors receiving inadequate equipment and being overworked. Doctors are being depicted as the pawns or soldiers on the front line, taking orders from the government. Though doctors have the means to heal, but in a crisis situation, they are just responding to immediate needs. They do not plan policy or analyze scientific data that could be used for medications. We have to understand that healthcare is not just those in the hospital — it involves all sectors of society working together.