One doctor’s pursuit to put his patients first
Even though politicians have spent much of this year discussing the needs of America’s healthcare system, they seem to be overlooking one major aspect of the system that has been a growing problem; the relationship between patient and doctor is decaying.
Today there are many Americans who are vocal about the fact that not only are they struggling to afford health care and medications, but also that both the respect level and individualized attention at their doctor’s office has declined.
One local physician is trying to change this reality for his patients. Dr. Carlos Romero, an Internal Medicine Physician in Weston, believes that putting the patient first is the only way to practice medicine. “Over the past 30 years or so, the physician has unfortunately become the middle man in the healthcare system. Many doctors are forced to rush in and out of the patient’s room because they have a certain amount of patients that they need to see on a daily basis,” states Romero. “I enjoy listening to my patients. My main goal is to spend as much time with my patients as I can, so that I can get the entire picture of their current health situation.”
Dr. Romero recalls what it was like to be a child who had health issues, and now years of experience as the “patient” brought out his desire to be a doctor at a very young age. “Starting at the age of 6, I had severe asthma, and I remember having to go to the doctor a lot. My doctors really helped me. I knew then that I wanted to go into medicine because I truly wanted to help people feel better and enjoy their life.”
Trying to make a difference in the life of each patient he sees, it is no surprise that his patients offer up rave reviews. “I know I am a very complicated patient. I have so many different medical issues going on at once, and he has taken so much time over the years to help me and to get my health back on track,” stated Gina Farrel, a longtime patient of Romero.
So, what makes this doctor’s office stand out from the rest?
“We try to make sure that we do not overbook patients. We don’t want them rushed in and out, and we want to make sure that we have individualized time with them,” says Romero. “Personally, I prefer to take a holistic approach and not just focus on one thing. For instance, if a patient comes in with a cold, we not only treat them for the cold, but we check to make sure that every single system is working properly. We want to treat the entire body, make sure they aren’t having any drug interactions, and check that their diet, emotional and mental health is also where it needs to be.”
When asked how he feels about the current healthcare industry, Romero states, “Everything has become too political and complicated. Insurance companies have made it so difficult for a doctor to order certain tests, or prescribe certain medications, that you can not even give your patient the care that is needed. For instance, with certain insurance companies, you can’t do certain blood tests that test for a specific type of cancer, unless you already have a diagnosis of the cancer. How can we diagnose the cancer, if we aren’t even allowed to have the blood test approved?”
Another healthcare issue that Romero doesn’t particularly understand or agree with is the way pharmaceutical companies are bombarding Americans with prescription drug commercials. “I totally disagree with pharmaceutical commercials on television. These companies should be educating the doctor about these medications instead of wasting millions of dollars on unnecessary commercials.
They should be passing this money down to the patient so that the medications are more affordable.”
Although the entire healthcare situation has become draining for many doctors, Romero remains faithful. “I just thank God that I still have the energy and the desire to be in this field, and that I am also able to spend a good amount of time with all of my patients, so they get the best care,” explains Romero. “I think it is truly a blessing to be able to spend your life helping people. Even though things have gotten complicated, and the old days of medicine are gone, there is nothing else I would rather be doing. This is what I was meant to do.”
For more information, you can contact Dr. Romero at his Weston office at 954-252-9322.