Monday, April 29, 2013

Come Monday...Systemic Malpractice

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of, or commentary about,  websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time.  Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.”  This is subject to change, however.  In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while.  For rants promote change, and change can be good—right?  Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I’m told).

Be assured that I am very much in favor of universal health care, but I have a real problem with the quality of care that is generally available in this country.  Therefore, [Obamacare] would be a huge waste of time and money until great improvements can be made in my opinion.

Of course, the main argument against such a position is that any care is better than none at all, but I would hope that those who hold to that would think differently if they would have had to have gone through what we have.  For aside from the quality of care I have received over the past 20 years, Arlynda has been recently (2-3 months ago) diagnosed with non-alcoholic [cirrhosis] of the liver, and given 2-5 years to live without a transplant.

Okay, I suppose it would be better to know what one is dying from (along with how long they may have to live) than not knowing anything, and seeing a doctor would be a good way of gathering such information.  That is, unless the doctor neglects to say anything, such as in the case with my wife.  For after going through her medical history, she discovered that she had been diagnosed with [fatty liver disease] over 10 years ago, and yet, it was not until her [ascites] became a genuine problem that the rest of the story was actually told to her by a new doctor.

The dots seem to clearly connect to me.  For alcohol breaks down into sugar in the body, and alcoholism is one of the major causes of cirrhosis of the liver.  Therefore, since it was clearly in her medical history that she has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and she has been being treated for [type 2 diabetes] for a number of years, which is a disease where blood sugar can get way too high, the doctor she has been seeing for her diabetes should have at least said something about her being in danger of developing cirrhosis of the liver, but I am not a doctor—am I?

Her new doctor is absolutely wonderful.  Well, at least he is for now.  For I am quite sure that it will not be all that long before “they” get to him, or drive him out of the medical profession completely.

There are already some indications of that.  For after Arlynda asked him to prescribe something stronger than aspirin or Tylenol to help dull an intensely sharp pain deep down in her upper left side, he told her that it might mask other symptoms, and that she would have to wait until after she had a gall bladder test he had scheduled—10 days from then!

Oh, and she still hasn’t received any pain medication.  Subsequently, she has not been able to actually lie down in a bed to sleep for close to a month now.  In all fairness, she has always been able to go to sleep almost anywhere, but I am thinking that the thought should count for something.

Her new doctor, who is a [gastroenterologist], sent her to a highly-respected liver specialist in St. Louis, who basically told her that a liver transplant was the only viable treatment for her at this stage in the game.  He then informed her (in no uncertain terms) that he would not even consider her eligible to be put on the transplant list until she quit smoking completely ([electronic cigarettes] don’t count) and lost at least 100 more pounds.

She is receiving some treatment for her ascites, but it leaves much to be desired.  For the last time she went to have as much of the excess abdominal fluid sucked out as possible, the doctor in charge declared that they had got it all after only six liters being collected.  Back at home four hours later, a clear fluid started pouring out of her belly button, which was not where they had inserted the [catheter].

Let us now get to the bills we have received for that last procedure.  There is $1,450.52 for the CS Lab, $809.50 for the CS Pharmacy, $506.52 for the CS Radiology Infusion, $980.60 for the CS Ultrasound and $259.00 for the Pathologist, which comes to a grand total of $4,006.14 for what took less than an hour to perform.

Those prices are what someone without health insurance is charged.  Do you really think that the quality of care will improve with the federal government only paying pennies on those dollars?

Alas, I used to believe that the American health care system was at least as good as any offered anywhere.  Then I became really sick and have had to face looking at the blank stares of my doctors after telling them that I feel like I have been suffering from a fairly severe case of the flu since 1993.

Arlynda’s sister came close to dying when her main doctor failed to recognize the smell of rotting flesh (for several weeks) coming from an infection in the incision he had made clear across her lower abdomen, and now it is my wife’s turn to suffer under the care of a hospital system that frequently runs commercial advertisements about them being one of the top 100 in this country.

In all fairness, Leslie’s ordeal was under the care of the other major hospital system in this town, but they also claim to be one of the top 100 in this country.  By the way, just how indestructible are you?

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  1. Money rules the American system.
    Since the mad Thatcher attempted to introduce similar policies the wonderful NHS has been struggling in so many ways. Bad, that is self seeking, management instigated at her demand has ruined a well sun service. In spite of the many faults, and increasing demands the NHS remains the standard of health care the rest need to follow. It remains for the UK to develop the NHS properly rather than use it as a political point to win votes from our home grown 'Tea Party.'

  2. Don't get me started on the medical establishment! As a retiree my husband had the choice to keep his "work" health insurance paying the same premium as active employees - he took it. When doctors and hospitals see our little blue and white card they see "cash cow". You have to advocate for yourself because doctors are too harassed by the money-men to actually do the job they are trained for. Doctors have become assembly-line workers - They have my sympathy but not so much that I don't pitch a bitch when I have to and do my own research.

    I do hope you can manage to get your wife the care she needs...

  3. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Adullamite!!! Would like to know just how foolish I really am? Well, I consider both the medical and legal professions to be callings that people should only pursue out of deep-seated desire to fix what is broken. Now, this is not to say that it is wrong for them to get paid well for doing a good job, but it is pure evil for anyone to get rich (either directly or indirectly) off of the sufferings of others.

    Hey, why not get my idiocy clear out in the open? For I look at politics in the same way!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Grace!!! Yeah, I suspect that a big part of the training for doctors newly affiliated with an individual health care system is to quickly become familiar with what the insurance companies will pay for and to not go looking for trouble by taking too much interest in just how well their patients are actually doing after they have already done what they have been authorized to do.

  5. dealing with doctors and insurance companies is downright frustrating (to put it mildly)

  6. Wow!

    My goodness, Jerry! How distressing and frustrating for both you and your wife.

    Our health system in this country is pretty good...probably one of the best, if not the best in the world. Let's hope the status quo remains. But under our present government one can't be sure of anything the way they're performing (or non-performing)! The sooner this government is ousted the for now, Australia has a good healthcare, but these clowns who are trying to run this country aren't capable of running a bun fight in a bakery!

    It's a Catch-22 situation, isn't it? We're supposed to put our trust in doctors etc., but some make it very difficult for us to do so.

    I hope things look much brighter for you both soon, Jerry.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Ann!!! Yeah, to put it very mildly.

  8. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lee!!! I hope you do not get really sick and have to find out just how good your healthcare system actually is anytime soon. Alas, is it not relatively easy to believe that things are good until they are not?

  9. Oh wow. How horrible....and frustrating.

    Medicine and insurance in this country is crazy--it's all driven by the almighty dollar. It is hard to find good care that doesn't abuse the system and cost you an arm and a leg....or a liver. I hope you find a solution for her pain.

  10. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lin!!! The pain in her left side is not as intense as it used to be. So, she tried sleeping in our bed last night and sure wished she hadn't when she tried to get out of it, which had nothing to do with how wonderful it is to sleep with me. Sigh.

  11. Holy Crap, Jerry! That sucks to the ultimate! I don't even know what to say. :-( Arlynda will be added to my prayers!

  12. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Angelika!!! Be assured that I greatly appreciate your concern, and I sure hope you get to feeling better much sooner than later.


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