Monday, February 05, 2007

2 Kings 5:1-19: A Story of Contemporary Health Care

I think there might be two ways to look at well known healing stories. For example:

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.* 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’* 4So Naaman* went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, ‘Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.’

He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, ‘When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.’* 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?* Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.’

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.’ 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!* 12Are not Abana* and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, ‘Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, “Wash, and be clean”?’ 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.’ 16But he said, ‘As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!’ He urged him to accept, but he refused. 17Then Naaman said, ‘If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt-offering or sacrifice to any god except the LORD. 18But may the LORD pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the LORD pardon your servant on this one count.’ 19He said to him, ‘Go in peace.’

Or, as we would see this in modern health care:

A successful business man, an important official, suffered a chronic disease, debilitating but not fatal. He receives a word of mouth referral from a supportive employee. Before he tries the new health care provider his choice is cleared with his primary insurer. He comes prepared for a significant copay.

The first provider consults with the appropriate specialist. He agrees to take the case, and the patient receives the referral. At the specialists office he meets a Physician Assistant rather than the physician. Through the PA the patient given a conservative treatment program based on patient compliance. The patient is angry: isn’t there a wonder drug or a dramatic procedure? “Surely my problem is too important for anything but the specialist’s personal care and the latest, most powerful treatment.” Ultimately, however, the patient is compliant, and the conservative treatment plan works. Moreover, the specialist does not require a copay. To stay with the specialist the patient takes on a new insurance plan. He works with specialist to adapt the care plan to his lifestyle, and goes on his way, successfuly treated.

1 comment:

Alastair said...

Thanks Marshall for commenting on my blog and for this excellent and thoughtful post (and for all the others I've read below) it looks like in our journey to and within Anglicanism we share a fair amount. God bless you in your ministry. I will be coming back!