Friday, March 20, 2009

Alas! America's healthcare system is not the best

Rosemary Flanigan
March 20, 2009

Maybe reading all those articles on vulnerability has affected me, but yesterday I went to visit a friend who was sent home from a hospital two days after surgery on her foot (plus receiving two units of blood) wearing one of those casts where the screws screw into the bone from outside.

Note on door: BACK TO THE HOSPITAL. It was pain that drove her back—in an ambulance, of course, to be re-admitted.

And I wondered: At discharge, was it known that she would be home alone? Who talks to patients being discharged about home health nurses—and couldn’t home health nurses be expected to handle her pain which everyone must have known would be a problem?

The May 16, 2007 Journal of the American Medical Association had an article by Ezekiel Emmanuel entitled, “What Cannot Be Said on Television About Health Care,” in which “rationing” was one such word, but he went on to lambaste the perceptions of U.S. healthcare delivery as the “best,” as “special,” and the phrase “New is Better.”

Rather, he said, “The US health care system is considered a dysfunctional mess”—which is not news to any of you.

I thought of that article when I stood at the locked door, clutching two fish sandwiches.


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