The outer Framework
The collaboration of Mr. and Mrs. Pressel was not without interruptions due to the four children that were born to them between 1960 and 1969. They grew up in the same house where the patients came and went every day.
Most of the patients were very familiar with the family situation since they had come for regular treatments and consultations for years, even decades. The confidence the patients felt in Dr. Pressel had its basis in his preventative practices, wellness care and strengthening of the clients’ own life forces in general. His patients noticed and appreciated this, especially during outbreaks of flu epidemics when there were remarkably few acutely ill patients to be cared for in Dr. Pressel’s practice. It was also extremely rare that Dr. Pressel had to attend to emergencies at night and on the weekends. This might sound strange or even presumptuous to anyone not familiar with his practice. But one could keep in mind that since ancient times the healthcare system in India has been such that the family physician only gets paid if his patients stay healthy. When someone gets ill, the doctor has to work for free. From this a culture and knowledge of healing has developed that understands how to keep human beings healthy. Dr. Pressel’s massage therapy can be understood as a European variety of this tradition.
Lies Pressel has many comments about the financial consequences of Simeon Pressel’s way of practicing medicine, like “Simeon Pressel could never have been convinced to become anything but a public doctor because he wanted everyone to be able to afford his treatments.” This lead to very low earnings, especially since one third was held back from the already meager reimbursements he received from the public health system because he did not work “economically”. “I am not a business man, I am a physician” he said over and over again, which already then did not impress the established medical association very much. Only when a female doctor decided to come to his drop-in clinics for a few months in order to investigate, and after having patiently waited her turn and thereby seen that the same patients returned over and over and always indeed received the same lengthy treatment every time, there was a certain measure of tolerance from the public health section. Unfortunately this did not last long since the female doctor left the association and everything returned to how it had been before. An attempt to charge a co-pay of DM 2.50 was immediately stopped by the public health insurance with the threat of being dropped from the system. Dr. Pressel did not want this to happen so he continued on with the DM 2.80 that he received from the public health insurance per patient. According to the system, when an M.D. administered a massage the public health insurance considered it nothing more than a small palpation and thus did not pay additionally for it while a licensed massage therapist would receive about DM 15 per treatment. The medical association kept advising Dr. Pressel to refer his patients to a massage therapist instead of doing it himself, but Dr. Pressel would firmly settle the matter by responding that a massage therapist could not perform the kind of massage he wanted and regarded as effective.