Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A view of how chaotic our healthcare system is-- from the inside

One week ago, I put up a blog on the fun time I had with the healthcare system when my wife had to go to the ER (and generated 26 comments, the most I've ever gotten on a topic on Deep Thought). But, for a better view of how much our healthcare system needs an overhaul (or maybe a wrecking ball and reconstruction), check out this post by Shrimplate, a nurse from somewhere down in the urban part of this state.

The car driver had smashed into him while he was motorcycling, circled around to view the damage, then sped away leaving the patient down on the street. The sharp ends of fragmented tibia and fibula sprouted like long nasty thorns from his pulpy lower leg.

It is amazing that people like the driver of this car even exist. But as often as hit-and-runs occur, it is a sad commentary. I've hit a car that was parked and no one was around, so I could have driven off and gotten away with it, but not being irresponsible, I tracked down the owner and showed him, and paid for the damage. But that was only a car. I can't even imagine someone who would treat a person like this.

Then he discusses another patient.

I rushed to call their pharmacy while the spouse hurried over there, only to find out when the pharmacist called back that the medication was not covered. The patient was your basic charity case who probably had been surviving on doctor's office medicine samples and mercy care for quite some time...

Trouble. This would be a hassle. Lovenox is so pricey that there was no way they could purchase it out-of-pocket...

The resident called in the meantime and gave me orders to hold the discharge on Lovenox lady, because without it she would be at risk for tossing a clot. She had a history of having done that before, hence her lack of toes on one foot. Both feet, actually, but it was just the one that had no toes at all...

the patient ended up staying.

Another night in the hospital probably goes for a good grand. Half that would pay for the Lovenox she needed. Oh well. It's the best health care system in the world.


Another outstanding example of how come in the U.S. we pay over 15% of our GDP for healthcare while in countries with universal healthcare, they pay around 9-12% of theirs. And while we are at it, since the lady won't be able to afford the stay, the hospital, after ruining her credit rating, will probably sell her account at a loss to a bill collector (who will make sure to hound her until she regrets ever going to the hospital in the first place) and recoup their loss by raising what they charge the rest of us when we have to go there (and you wonder why your health insurance premiums jump every year).

And people suggested in 1994 that Universal Healthcare would be a nightmare. The nightmare is here alright, mainly because it didn't get passed.

7 comments:

Chuck said...

I read that about the Lovenox over at shrimplate's blog. That's a very good example of just how screwed up this system is. And that's just one incident at one point in time in one hospital...

shrimplate said...

My grandmother, who hated the English as much as she hated everybody else, used to say "penny-wise but pound-foolish."

Thanks for stopping by, Eli. I really appreciate it.

EAPrez said...

Thats very odd - as I do case management for an insurance company and I would go to the med director to get an off the forumlary drug approved rather than have a member stay in the hospital for want of it. I also find it odd that Lovenox or its equivilant would NOT be covered under anyone's plan because its standard of care.

Lily said...

Thanks for the gander, Eli. I could rant about healthcare and pummel your comment box into your keyboard...but figure you can guess the bulk of it. Damn shame.

Barbi said...

Eli, your blog post with the 26 comments was great. I had to save it to re-read. It's so sad to think that of all the money wasted on this wrong war and it's greedy profiteers that it couldn't have gone for a better use, like taking better care of our people.

I'd love sometime to see you rant on outlawing all these greedy corporate lobbyists that have only interests in profit, not in we the people.

Eli Blake said...

Barbi:

I did do a post on those lobbyists and what they are up to: Pre-Fab legislation.

I'm not against lobbyists, they do have their place (discussed in the post). They just should be kept in it.

Barbi said...

Thank you so much for linking me back to that post on lobbyists, Eli. (Duh, I remember reading it...now.)

:)

"But, don't we elect and pay Congressmen to write the actual legislation, as required by the U.S. Constitution? Apparently, not only are we looking at Conservatives who have been elected by no one pretty much running the place, but THEY, not our elected lawmakers, are now the ones writing the laws."

Excellent! (I remembered that part, but couldn't remember where I saw it!)