I would have preferred to dwell more on our open, capitalistic society and its emphasis on freedom of action and of choice, its high rate of accidents, violence, homicides, and drug misuse and alcohol addictions and the inability of physicians and hospitals to control what goes on outside physician offices and hospitals.
I would have chosen to speak more on our country's great eras a country than other countries on treating hip and knee problems, repairing damaged hearts, bettrer controlling hyperlipidemias, diabetes, and hypertension, . I might even had noted our stellar record as a country of medical technologic inventions and of returning individuals to full productive lives.
There are certain things that doctors heretofore could not do, like help poor patients obtain social services once they returned home or left the hospital when these services may be desparately needed (Harlan Krumholz,"Post-Hospital Syndrome - An Acquired, Transient Condition of Genralized Risk,:NEJM, January 10, 2013). But as doctors we can try. The Physicians Foundation, has issued a $1 million grant to Health Leads, a Boston-based non-profit, to recruit and train college volunteers in six major cities, to supply social services - job training, medical transprotation, medical advice, and home visits - to the poor once they have returned home. Doctors can now "prescibe" these services to the poor at the point of care before patients leave the home or the hospital.