Herbal Clinic, First Day Observations

1.) Chinese Medicine doctors in China see a volume of patients that is hard to fathom from our American point of view. Sometimes more than 5 patients an hour for around 40 patients in a work day. If I saw forty patients a week in the US, I would be ecstatic. 

2.) Healthcare in China is largely free to the population, including of course acupuncture and herbal medicine. In order to achieve this feat, hospitals are crowded, doctors and their students work incredibly hard, and no one in the system is compensated in the six-figure equivalent for Nanjing. Being a doctor is prestigious, difficult to attain, and duely compensated but is not the work of the socioeconomic upper crust.

3.) There is absolutely no expectation of privacy in a clinical setting. New patients and previous ones will open a treatment room door, ask a question, check back later. There was a doctor, three of his students, three of us foreign students and a translater in all our treatment rooms and not a single patient was bothered by our presence on any level. In fact, many of them seemed intrigued or even flattered to be observed by foreign doctors. 

4.) The hospital is simultaneously a triumph of providing care for as many people who need it as possible and an example of all the horror stories that American doctors and politicians opposed to universal healthcare coalesced into one place. That is, the place is packed, there is little privacy, doctors are not richly compensated, and your direct control over who you see and when you see them is limited. That said, it is amazingly equitable and reflects more of what is real about the use and distribution of limited resources.

5.) Everyone wants the nicest things but should we all really have them? Especially if it means that us having nice things literally prevents millions of other people from having those same nice things? 

6.) Children suffer disproportionately from respiratory diseases, especially cough

7.) Even the most hardass-seeming Chinese doctor might speak excellent English and be warm and receptive to this group of Americans studying Chinese Medicine

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