Sunday, July 14, 2013

ICU: where your financials are examined before your injuries

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.


Rum-Punch Drunk said...

The American health system has always made me feel slightly ill. It seems to be all about the money which is very frightening. People have worked all their lives and through no fault of their own, they have a serious unexpected accident and the next thing you know, they have to sell the house and goods to pay medical bills. I don't know how they cope, because where I come from, I don't even need to think about ill health/accidents in this way. If I should have an accident, off to hospital I go, and any treatment is more or less taken care of. Nobody asks about finances, private insurance, payment of taxes etc. The only thing I pay for is a prescription if needed, which is about £7.40 each, and that's only because I don't claim any type of social security benefits, otherwise it would be free.

I would without a doubt be dead right now if I had to pay for all the treatments I've had over the past years. I just don't get the American way... only the rich will survive it.

ranfuchs said...

I think you got the american way, only the rich will survive it. It's exactly the English way of the 17th century, the way that the founder of America escaped from to establish something better.

Janene said...

When it comes to emergency care, it should be based on need, not your insurance. It saddens me that the person with the heaviest injuries got the least attention. Something is definitely wrong with that system.

Ayelet said...

The US healthcare system is just another business unfortunately.

ranfuchs said...

unfortunately to the population, fortunately to the stock holders.
Life is cheap in N. Korea and the USA