Of Chicken Little and Life Insurance

I heard a conversation on the radio this morning, with commentary to share with you.

Joe Galuski, the morning host on WSYR Radio (Clear Channel) in Syracuse, NY engaged the weather guru, Pat Pagano, in a conversation about long term climate changes, global warming and those issues that surround them.  Pat kind of poo pooed the report Joe was discussing, and Joe said, “Wait a minute.  We just watched a bridge collapse in Minneapolis because nobody listened to the warnings!”

Welcome to my world, Joe and Pat! 

When I explain to people about the work I do.  When I tell them I try to warn patients about the problems of our dysfunctional healthcare system, then provide them with tools they need to get the best healthcare they can from the system, people always tell me how important that is…. yet….

They don’t seem to realize the message is for them until they have a frightening brush with the system themselves — or — someone they love does. 

It’s a little like selling life insurance.  No one ever thinks they are going to die, so they don’t think they need life insurance.  No one ever thinks THEIR doctor will make a mistake, or THEY will be given the wrong prescription in the wrong dose, or THEIR hospital will infect them or THEY will have trouble getting a diagnosis — until it happens to them or their loved ones.

Yes — sometimes I feel a bit like Chicken Little.  Or, as I explained to a gentleman I spoke to yesterday, I have had to develop a cynicism that is way outside my comfort level.  I’ve never been a cynical person in my life — until adopting my patient advocacy mission.  But if my cynical, chicken-little-like warnings help just one patient, it will have been worth it.

Next time you hear a warning, you don’t have to believe it right away.  But don’t dismiss it so quickly either.  Joe had a point about that bridge in Minneapolis.  And I have a point about American healthcare and its evolution into dysfunction. 

Warnings are only meant to protect you.  Chicken Little was right, afterall.

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2 Responses to “Of Chicken Little and Life Insurance”


  1. 1 C August 10, 2007 at 10:15 am

    You are so right. We have to learn to educate ourselves about the stuff that affects our body. The docs and nurses are not the end-all-be-all authorities, despite all their school! :)

    By the way, have you read the book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”? It is about a Hmong family and their cultural differences with the westernized system of medicine. I think you, as a patient advocate, would get a lot out of the book. It is actually required reading at the school of medicine (at the university where I attend nursing school.)

  2. 2 RubyShooZ August 16, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you my friend Chicken Little.

    What you do here is much appreciated and I wanted to reach out and tell you that you are making a difference and I look forward to hearing more from you!

    Peace, love and understanding.


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