Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Rest of the Story

wFor those of you in the US, who are about my age, you might remember a radio program called "The Rest of the Story". I used to love listening to it. It was on Sunday mornings, and I would listen to while reading the Sunday Comics in the paper.

It's only appropriate that I finish my "healthcare story" with that memory in mind.

In the story below, the patient was refused all services. ALL.

The happy ending is that another doctor was found who was willing to do some of the tests.

I have several reasons this infuriates me. Of which (I think) all were mentioned in people's comments.

1.) The matter of choice. If the patient understands all risks, they should be willing to get the medical care they choose.

2.) A second matter of "choice".....the doctor in this situation made it sound as though the patient was simply "choosing" not to get important tests done. When it is a financial matter, it is NOT a matter of simply choosing which tests to get done. It is a matter of being able to make a house payment OR get medical care.

That really leads me to my biggest issue here.

We live and work in a low income area. Every single day, we see parents who give up eating, so they can feed their children. We see people who have to make the decision between paying their electric bill or paying for daycare. (Or worse yet, leaving their children alone because they can't pay for daycare). We see people living in the alley behind our office.

What infuriated me....was the simple fact that people can be in the situation in which they have to choose between healthcare and groceries. The patient's issue has become important enough for them to go to scrape money together to go to the doctor. Then, the doctor refuses them healthcare.

I don't know one person who doesn't want to take care of themselves.

I can only say that I hope that the healthcare provider in this situation is NEVER in the situation where they have to choose between getting medical attention and feeding their children. I hope they never hit bad times where they lose everything and make the decision to get help and are then turned away from the people that they should be able to trust.