Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Maybe We Should Work on Empathy Transplants First

Sometimes it's not the story, it's the comments. Actually, a lot of the time it's not the story, it's the comments. Your fellow countrymen and human beings baring their sociopathic souls for all the world to see is just terrifying.

The story is about transplant rationing in Arizona (it's not a death panel when it's a private insurer, apparently) and the real human cost of such decisions.

Trinity Halliday
I lost my job and have no health insurance now. So why exactly should I cry tears for people who will suck up millions and millions of dollars of healthcare and may require a second costly transplant or die anyway? A former boss of mine had a heart transplant. She told us about all of the other people in her hospital unit who mostly died anyway after the transplant. Talk about throwing money down a black hole. After the transplant there are all also all of the costly anti-rejection drugs and tests to see if you're rejecting the organ. I was in favor of transplants before I heard her stories. She alone has cost the insurance company millions and millions of dollars and doesn't even have a normal life. I'm sorry, but we really need to think about what a life is worth. And how many less sick people we could treat and save for the same money. Lots and lots. I'm with Arizona on this. It's not a good use of the money. And I'm normally a bleeding heart liberal. If I get sick or injured, I'm going to die, because I can't afford medical treatment. So if you're not Steve Jobs and can't afford a transplant, maybe you will, too. I don't think a right to transplants was ever written into the Constitution.

Yes, saving lives is "throwing money down a black hole" if those lives aren't going to be "normal" afterwards. "Bleeding heart liberal" Trinity apparently feels that medicine should only be an option if it's going to make people "normal", whatever that means, so forget about treating mental illnesses, or amputees or children with Down's Syndrome. If they're going to force Trinity to behold abnormality, they should just die.

"I don't think a right to transplants was ever written into the Constitution" is just a flat out lie: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's right there, Trin. Get a clue.

Whatever did we do 50 years ago, when many of our life-saving procesurdes weren't available? And we didn't have a pill for everything? Even 20 years ago? Limit all public funds for healthcare that was developed 20 years ago or more.That will still give people BASIC healthcare. Everyone else can pay out of their own pockets. Some of us get Ferraris, some get 10 year old Kias. Life's unfair.

Simmons feels that medicine should have stopped innovating 50 years ago. Why 50? Who the fuck knows, but I'll be happy to deny Simmons fetal monitoring, open heart surgery, an artificial hip, treatment for heart attacks, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, defibrillators, and the list goes on.

I mean seriously, the knowledge that [this person] is dying needlessly only inspires you to opine on Kias and spout the sort of ableist tripe Hitler was fond of? Instead of cutting off organ transplants, I say we figure out how to do empathy transplants. Apparently, that's what we really need.


  1. "Whatever did we do 50 years ago, when many of our life-saving procesurdes weren't available? And we didn't have a pill for everything?"

    We have a pill for everything now? My friends and relatives with HIV, cancer, MS, and rheumatoid arthritis are going to be SO excited when I tell them of this cure!

  2. Sony Sotomayor said...
    Hey, empathy almost cost me my job.

  3. Hate to be a downer, but life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

  4. eccentricat:

    Actually, it's a stronger idea in the Preamble to the Constitution:

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    General welfare. That's actually a bit stronger than just mentioning the importance of letting people live.

  5. Hey, Ed Brayton has a great post up on this very thing.

    Also, Sonia, not Sony DUHH

  6. I don't get it. It doesn't cost her anything if someone else gets a transplant. So why does she care?

    It's seriously hard to understand what is going on in your country with this whole healthcare thing. I've tried to understand it but I still don't get it.

  7. Boganette, the idea is that when insurances companies have to shell out millions to keep transplant patients alive, the rest of us healthy-type folks have our monthly premiums and our annual deductibles bumped up to even out the profits for the insurance companies. (Whether the answer is to cut back on transplants is........ debatable.)

    Now, what I'd be interested to know is: what kind of money do insurance companies end up shelling out for transplant prep, surgery, and maintenance, compared to the kind of money they shell out reimbursing patients for purchase of erectile dysfunction drugs (e.g.)? I'm truly curious.

  8. The other question is, and this is brought up in the article, what is the cost of caring for someone dying of end stage renal disease or liver failure vs. the cost of replacing the organ? hint: even with antirejection drugs, it's way cheaper to replace the kidney than to do years of dialysis.

  9. then there are the non-monitary cost - to the family,mainly. but also to the insurance company.
    at one point [when i coukd work] i had a certain insurance. one of the women i worked with, who had been with the company - and the SAME insurance for years [and the HIGHEST level of the insurance - she had NO deductibles, NO caps! it basically cost her entire ]check, and was the entire reason for the job; her husband's self-employeed makes tons of money, but buying insurance for yourself as opposed to thru an employeers is HARD!]
    she was diagnosed with something, renal failure set in, etc.
    the insurance dragged everything ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot...
    for 2 years. they refused every claim, didn't pay full prices after claims had been submited 3-4 AFTER preauthorizations for EVERYTHING.
    when the doc said "your ONLY chance to not be stuck doing dialysis3 times a week is a kidney transplant. even with dialysis i only give you a few years - the kidney would at LEAST double the amount of time"
    insurance refused it.
    doc's office and hospital went thru the policy. insurance had no reason to refuse it.
    they refused it again.


    but - my bosses? fired the company. so did every small buisiness owner they knew. bastards/


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