health care, hospital, socialism, obama
Yesterday I wake up at 5am with a hideous pain under the bottom of my ribs on the left side. Bad enough to wake me up out of a sound sleep. I wait around for a while for it to go away, it doesn't. The pain gets worse. I drink a cup of coffee and have a piece of toast. (The coffee is important later.)
Finally, at 8am, I decide I can't wait for my doctor's office to open at 9:30 and go to the ER. They actually got me into a room in record time (about 45 minutes) and then . . . nothing. An hour goes by. A nurse comes in, takes blood, records heart rate, blood pressure (145/62) and temperature. At this point, I'm thirsty. I've been up for almost 5 hours and I've only had a cup of coffee. The nurse says that since I have stomach pain, I can't have anything to drink.
Another 2 hours go by. I complain of being thirsty 2 more times, and the nurse comes into the room with a bag of saline and leaves. Doesn't hook it up, just leaves. A physician's assistant student stops in, does the worst exam in history (why yes, if I have bad menstrual cramps and you press on my uterus, it will hurt. Not a freakin' medical mystery.), and tells me the tests were normal (I had to pry out of her that they tested liver and kidney function), then tells me there isn't anything in that area (you know, other than my spleen, for starters), then goes to find someone who can hook up the bag.
Another hour goes by, and at this point I feel like I've run a marathon through the Sahara, and I'm getting really floaty. I leave, go home, drink four 12 ounce bottles of water in 20 minutes and go to sleep. My SIL, who works at that hospital, stops by and I tell her what happened and she tells me the dirty, not-so-secret of the ER, you know, that place that is to millions of people their only access to health care?
ER's are only required to stabilize vitals: blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. If those are stable, they can, and will, "street" you: kick you out of the ER. If you die in the parking lot, that's not their problem. You were "stable" when you left. This is obscene. You can have a heart attack, and have perfectly normal vitals. You can be bleeding to death and have perfectly normal vitals right up until the end. You can have a stroke and have perfectly normal vitals.
This is health care in the US. ERs are overwhelmed with sick and suffering people who have nowhere else to turn, and the ERs don't have the capability to help them. So, the ERs kick out all but the most obviously sick (i.e., bleeding everywhere), and risk killing people in the process. I can't predict the future and tell you exactly how well the planned reforms will work, but I can tell you that what's going on now isn't working.