Which comes first, doctors or patients?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 29, 2009

Centuries of intelligent people have been confounded by a simple question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

It’s a head-scratching conundrum.

Logically, each one needs the other to exist.

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Trying to figure it out is a prescription for frustration.

A similar, slightly less feathered, problem exists in our community, too.

Which comes first, the doctors or the patients?

Each depends on the other.

But for years, our community has lamented a shortage of physicians — particularly specialists.

The result — some experts say — is that millions of dollars leave our community each year seeking medical expertise in larger, nearby cities.

But you cannot recruit a new physician, particularly specialists, if other physicians and their patients don’t support them.

Our hospital leaders know which specialists are most needed. We urge the four local hospitals — Natchez Community Hospital, Natchez Regional Medical Center, Riverland Medical Center and Riverpark Medical Center — to meet with city, county and parish leaders to discuss the needs.

This problem isn’t a case that should be left to whim. Our community’s healthcare is critical to our future.

This is a matter in which we need to pool our resources to improve our chances of success. If we need doctors, let’s get together and recruit the heck out of some of them.

Our area is a great place to live and a fabulous place in which to raise a family.

But we have to get people here first, let them hang around for a bit and see all the great things we have to offer.

Our community can raise a few chickens and hatch a few eggs, but we need everyone working together.