This blog is dedicated to the memory of Nino M. Camardese, M.D., a family practitioner for more than 50 years in my hometown in Ohio. Dr. Camardese and his wife Eda, a nurse, established his medical practice in 1954 after completing training at Ohio State University. An immigrant to the U.S. from Italy in 1939, as an orphan and refugee from Mussolini’s fascism, he was proud to have become an American, and served in the Army Air Force during World War II. Like many immigrants to the U.S., Dr. Camardese saw the tremendous opportunity for personal freedom and self-expression, but also understood the great responsibility that comes with those freedoms. He founded the Americanism Foundation “to help create greater appreciation of the . . . philosophy of government given to us by the wise and noble men whom Americans call the Founding Fathers.” Although the organization no longer exists, the group promoted civil rights, social action, and advocacy. In his wife’s words, “He was a true patriot and advocate for justice in medicine.”
Dr. Camardese was a member of more than 40 medical, civic, and religious organizations and an advocate of individual rights and responsibilities as they related to maintaining freedom. He fought hard to keep the control of medical care in the hands of those who provide it, to preserve the rights of doctors to take care of their patients. He was honored as the Ohio Association of Family Physicians as Family Physician of the Year in 1991.
Dr. Camardese died in March of 2013 at the age of 86, ultimately saddened by what he saw happening in healthcare in the U.S. because of greater and greater intrusion by agencies that do not have the best interest of patients at heart and that do not understand how medicine should be practiced. It is his dedicated work on behalf of his patients that inspires this blog. His spirit lives on in the actions of all healthcare providers who seek to care for the patient, not serve the healthcare industry.
In writing here, my purpose is to continue Dr. Camardese’s work to honor patients and, by extension, health care providers, who are central to the current debates about health care reform, but whose voices are diminished by the actors and agencies making the decisions that affect them.
Please note: I am not a physician. I am not a healthcare provider of any kind, and the information presented in this blog is not to be interpreted as medical advice of any kind. My own experience as a patient and my proximity to many who work in the healthcare field make me aware of the great divides between patients, practitioners, and agencies that confuse, complicate, and obscure what good care is really about.
Most patients don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes of medical practice, and do not see how the decisions made there affect their care. If we are to be educated patients, if we are to take control of our own care in the “do-it-yourself” attitude promoted in all areas of American culture now, we need a greater understanding of the forces at work that affect us when we go to the hospital or doctor’s office.
I intend this blog to be a forum for discussion and welcome comments and feedback from patients, practitioners, and anyone else interested in a greater understanding of what healthcare is and what it should be. If you choose to join the conversations here, please be courteous and respect others’ privacy. The comments on this blog are moderated. Spam, flames, attacks, and vitriol of any kind will not be allowed.