Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Healthcare in the U.S. of A.

Dr. Dork had a good post today. His comment section allowed me to vent. Allowed me to say some things I've been wanting to say. Here is my comment...

I have been a patient, or had a child or spouse as a patient, in an emergency room no more than 5 times in my 46 years.

Two were for my dear son who grew faster than his coordination could keep up and either had broken bones or gashes that needed suturing and could not wait until the next morning.

Two were for me. One I was in labor and the other I was having a drug reaction.
The 5th, my daughter broke her wrist sledding...unfortunately after 5:00 PM. At that time, there were no "doc-in-a-box" in our area.

I don't pretend to know the answers. Heck I don't even know some of the words you use without consulting Websters, but I know what it is like to be on this end of things.

Now that my husband is so ill, if something doesn't change soon, we may be one of those families most doctors detest who use the ER like a family physician.

His insurance (COBRA) runs out in March. His job so far refuses to consider him full time (hence no benefits) even though he is working 40 hours every week since they hired him 3 months ago.

Through no fault of his own, he lost a good paying job with good benefits this past April. He is on over $1400 a month in medications. He has several chronic illness' and was in good health until one after another they struck him down over the last 9 years of his life.
He worked full time throughout high school and college, paying off his parents home as his dad was disabled by 44 and dead by 49.

I guess you could blame it on us somehow -if you stretched it. Maybe he could have gotten his degree in an area that was termination proof. Maybe he could have married a woman who was better educated and better equipped to pay these medical bills.

Like I said, I don't know the answers, but I also don't know what we will resort to when his COBRA expires and our small savings is depleted.

Use an ER as a family doctor? Maybe divorce (on paper) so he will qualify for all the freebies out there he would qualify for were it not for my paycheck?

Next time some of you docs snarl and moan about someone using your ER as a doctor office, look yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that it could have been you walking through that door.

Not everyone who finds themselves in this situation are there because they are lazy or dumb or not willing to try or any of the other names you can pin on them.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent Dr Dork.


Sisiphus said...

Unfortunately, I see far too many medics. who forget the little phrase, "There but for the grace of God go I". I have never forgotten those wise words told to me when I was in the early days of my training to become a psychiatrist. If you do have time to pop over to my blog, I have written a post based around this problem of doctors lacking the ability to introject. (i.e. being unable to look at things from a different viewpoint).The post is titled "How doctors deal with psychiatry", but you may find some other posts of mine that suggest that docs do vary in their attitudes depending on what speciality they have chosen to persue.

Liana said...

Thanks for offering a different perspective on this.

I have to admit that when I see patients in the ER who obviously should have taken their concerns to the family doctor, I lament the system rather than blaming the patient. There is a severe shortage of family docs in Canada... if I recall correctly, there are something like 40,000 people in Calgary without a family doctor. Because there aren't any family doctors taking new patients.

Call me biased (I am a family med resident after all) but I see family docs as the cornerstone of the Canadian medical system. Without them, everything goes to hell... and it ain't cheap, either.