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The patients we do not see

In medicine, we speak of “seeing patients” when we are rounding in the hospital or caring for those who come to our clinics. But what about those people who may be sick but do not seek care? What is our responsibility to the patients we do not see?

This question takes on greater urgency in the current political climate, as patients face the threat of losing health insurance. Renewed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act leave millions wondering whether they will be covered.

For me, as a physician practicing in the safety net, abstract numbers evoke the very real stories of my uninsured patients. One of my patients, whom I’ll call Elsa, had not seen a doctor…

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Last Updated : Friday, June 5, 2020