Monday, August 31, 2009

About Dr. Brian Hill

Hi. I am Dr. Brian Hill, a working urologist, married with two girls. I love my wife, my girls, my practice and the patients that I take care of. I feel blessed that this is my life. I come from a large family, have been working since fifteen, was able to spend my summers during my high school years working overseas in Haiti, Poland and Egypt, attended a small liberal arts college in Virginia, and now after four years of medical school, six of residency and five of practice, I somehow found myself asking my congressman a question, something that had never previously crossed my mind.

I happened to stumble into this healthcare debate when I asked my congressman, David Scott, a healthcare question during a town hall meeting where a local highway project was being discussed. To clear the air, I did wait until after all of the highway questions were asked and the microphone was opened for other topics. And I had called my congressman’s office and was told that his schedule was already set and did not include any healthcare town halls. So I took the only opportunity available and asked my congressman to simply explain to me in real life dollars, not hyperbole or political speak, why he supports a government option that historically has yet to demonstrate that it fulfills any of the ideals of healthcare reform. And I came alone with my father-in-law, not as part of an organized group. I have always carried some interest in politics, but that interest rarely spilled beyond reading a few socio-politico-economic books, watching either CNN or FOX and occasionally ranting around my office when some ideology that I disagreed with was voted into law.

However, when the topic of healthcare reform began to cross the lips of politicians, I became more keenly aware. Not only would this impact my life, but change would, without much doubt, affect the manner in which I was able to practice medicine, either for better or for worse. I began to read about the ideas being floated about, and my interest peaked further. But it really was not until I watched President Obama discussing healthcare reform that included the public option with a group from the AARP that I decided to more actively engage myself in the healthcare discussion. He told the group that while the government would not step in and disallow a hip replacement, it would educate the physician and patient in better ways to manage the condition. I spent four post-graduate years in medical school followed by two years in general surgical training followed by an additional four years learning a surgical specialty, a similar tract to orthopedic surgeons. Despite that level of surgical training, I cannot tell an orthopedic surgeon the best way to manage a degenerative hip. So how can either the President or group of politicians/political appointees, even if they have some association with medicine, tell an orthopedic surgeon how to practice his surgical specialty? Does a plumber tell an electrician how to wire a house?

And I began to read more earnestly, and my concerns mounted. And I asked a question. And that question has yet to be truly answered—political speak does not constitute understanding or an answer, just a response. So now we are here, looking for answers ourselves, because we have to ask the right questions and find the right answers. Because we will all be patients at some point. And we deserve the best in healthcare.

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