Be Decisive: Why wait? Nip it in the bud!

by Edward Henkler on October 7, 2014

Two recent events prompted today’s post. The first is the evolving Ebola outbreak, which was first announced on the CDC website on March 25th, 2014. The second event is more personal, involving a friend who is seeking some elective surgery. In each case, early decisive action would have been rewarded.

While I have no doubt that the US can contain the Ebola outbreak, I’m beginning to wonder how long it will take and how much it will cost. The duration and cost will be significantly more impactful in some of the African nations where it first appeared. I commend the health care providers who have been involved from the beginning. I also wonder how many lives and how much money and time might have been saved had there been a more forceful initial response. It is clearly easier to look at the situation retrospectively but I wonder if “lessons learned” are ever conducted in the aftermath of similar situations? If they were, might we consider some sort of rapid reaction force (civilian, military, or hybrid) which might be able to nip similar situations in the bud?

Early decisive action

With the more personal situation, my friend had successful surgery 10-15 years ago to rectify some vascular issues. His situation has remained stable far longer than expected but there are signs of a recurrence. His doctor does believe that corrective surgery is appropriate but also cautioned that obtaining insurance coverage is not guaranteed. While there seems to be little doubt that surgery will eventually be required, the insurance company may not feel the problem is sufficiently severe yet. That decision defers spending but also suggests that eventual surgery will be more complex with a slower recovery.

In both instances, there are many other factors related to cost containment, inadequate health facilities and practices, insurance fraud, etc. This post is not intended as a political commentary, just a reminder that early action is often rewarded. There is also often a significant additional cost associated with delay.

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