My daughter’s friend crashed his new sports car. He drove at night, and had three passengers with him – to violations of the Connecticut traffic law, as he is under eighteen. He also drove well over the speed limit. There is no doubt that he, and those in the car with him must be taught a lesson. But first they needed to be treated.
They were taken to ICU, three with private medical care, one without. The girl without, one of two daughters to a single mother, suffered the heaviest injuries. It was not for the doctors to teach them a lesson for their reckless behavior; the doctors’ job was simply to punish her for not having a private insurance.
The three others were admitted, arranged in private rooms, and immediately attended to. One of the guys suffered only minor, superficial injuries, yet the three of them underwent comprehensive tests, many unnecessary, each bringing the hospital thousands of dollars.
Six hours later, the uninsured girl was still sitting on a chair, waiting in the corridor. Not once had she been attended, her pulse taken, the risk of internal injuries assessed.
In America, this is all most people know, and such reality is taken as Force Majeure. After all, shouldn’t the rich be given priority over the poor? Can it be any other way? But it does not have to be like this.
The USA is the sixth medical system I have lived in. In the other five, too, I had private medical insurance. The private insurance guaranteed better rooms, when they were available, allowing me to choose my doctor and the clinic. But in time of emergency, it made no difference. Priority was based on injury and health, and on not on financial wellbeing. But over there, injured people are still patients – and people – not clients.
The arguments about the medical system in the USA: republican vs. democrats, Obamacare, are all missing the point. A culture that worships money more than life cannot provide good care to its population. Poor healthcare is merely a symptom.