Mama Might Be Better Off Dead Essay

1014 Words 4 Pages
QHQ #2: Individual Liability Contrary to popular belief, poor access to health care is not the central problem to the health of an individual in poverty; rather, health is associated with certain social determinants of health, specifically individual risk factors. In the book Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America by Laurie Kaye Abraham, the concept of how an individual’s decisions can drastically impact their health is clearly expressed through the lens of Tommy, an uneducated individual who does not follow the advice given by his physician. The choices that Tommy makes in respect to his health outside the four walls of the hospital are what contributes to his declining health. There are two primary individual …show more content…
Abraham uses the situation between Dr. Jones’ advice for Tommy to reduce his intake for salt and Tommy’s deliberate refusal to this advice to further support this claim. When physicians warn patients, like Tommy, to go on a salt free diet, some patients may deny being able to follow the recommended lifestyle due to the fact that “[they] could if [they] wanted to… [but eating salt food] is just something [they do]” (Abraham 138). This proves the point that some patients do not consider the importance of pursuing a healthy lifestyle. They have the mindset that if they “need to stop doing [something in their diet], they can do it” (Abraham 138). Moreover, this can be detrimental to one’s health because every minuscule assistance the patient intentionally ignores, like taking up a low salt diet, will lead to something as harmful as cholesterol, increasing the chances of heart disease. Tommy is an uneducated individual who does have access to health care because he is able to go see Dr. Jones for his checkups. However, he is refusing to comply with his physician’s requests to lower his salt content, contributing to his individual risk factors. This rejects the belief that limited access to health care is the fundamental problem because some patients, like Tommy, simply prefer their lifestyle the way it is, lacking compliance with the …show more content…
Patients, like Tommy, don’t truly know the effects of not pursuing the doctor’s recommendations due to the lack of education on the sciences itself. In Abraham’s book, Dr. Jones suggests that the government should encourage “aggressive public health programs [to] help [the] poor, less educated patients live healthier lives” (Abraham 144). By implementing such programs, individuals can not only be well informed of the long term effects that they may not foresee when making poor medical choices, but also build a stronger bridge between the physician and patient. Through the analysis of this book, it would be interesting to know more about how physicians can improve upon their method in portraying the importance of good health to their patients. Additionally, in what ways can we implement the aggressive public health programs, as suggested by Abraham, at a national, or even a global level in efforts to improve global

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