Happy Valley, ID – “Entitlement…Entitlement and laziness… and bad choices,” explains Dr. Jestins as he leans back into his rolling armchair at the doctor’s station in the Happy Valley General Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Dr. Jestins has been conducting impromptu lectures on the vagaries of impoverished persons for over 10 years from his seat at the ED physicians station. He explains to those who listen the many things he’s learned since his upbringing in a rough-and-tumble suburb of Burlington, Vermont, and the valuable insight he’s gained from his time grinding through 12 shifts per month in the Happy Valley ED.
“I think that a lot of people probably went out and spent all of their trust money and college funds on houses and cars that they couldn’t afford. People feel like they have to have that second big screen or fancy sports car, then there’s no money left for medicines and they wander into my ED looking for handouts” he explains.
“I mean, ultimately, it’s a problem of money management. I’m careful with money so I always have enough left over at the end of the month to take a short excursion into Patagonia or to backpack in Europe.”
Dr. Jestins has seen quite a bit of entitlement and poverty in his 10 years working the ED. He recognizes that the problems in healthcare that bring people to seek basic care and medication refills through the emergency department are mostly due to poor judgement on an individual level.
“Last week, I saw this guy off the street; he’s a homeless dude with a leg amputation and he’s clearly got metastatic cancer all over; pretty sure that he’s just looking to score some pain medicine. I told him he should get someone to drive him to that big cancer center a few hours away, and instead, he’s just been hanging around in his wheelchair on the street, complaining about how bad he hurts. You’ve gotta help yourself first before expecting other people to help you, you know?!”
For his timeless wisdom and his bold courage in passing inspirational value judgements on people he has known for 3 hours, Dr. Jestins is this week’s DME Health Hero.