Thursday, January 17, 2008

Our broken health care system

Today's QuickVote question on the CNN site is the following:

Have you or anyone in your family ever had a nightmarish ER experience?

Yes - 41%

No - 59%

Needless to say, I answered "yes". In fact, I have had two nightmarish ER experiences. There's something very wrong when this many people are so poorly served by our hospitals. But then, what can you expect when uninsured people are forced to use ERs for primary health care?

The article that prompted the QuickVote question is entitled "Five things not to do in the ER". Here's an excerpt:

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The video is deeply disturbing.

In it, CNN Headline News anchor Glenn Beck describes going to the emergency room in intense pain -- so overwhelming, he wept.

He says that for two hours, no one gave him pain medication. In fact, he says, no one lifted a finger to help him at all for 40 minutes.

Beck says his wife literally held him up in the emergency room, while nurses looked on and chatted about their holidays. He does not identify the hospital.

Okay. Glen Beck is a heartless reactionary politically speaking and, quite frankly, I'm glad he had this experience. Maybe he'll realize something needs to be done about medical care in this country besides line the pockets of the big for-profit hospitals and insurance companies.

Two hours is nothing. Heck, 40 minutes is REALLY nothing. When I went to the ER with appendicitis last summer I was on the floor in fetal position for five hours before I was seen. And during that time I was ordered off the floor by a hospital employee who insisted, "We can't have you on the floor" because of liability. But no help was offered. I simply didn't move. I couldn't. It was because of being on the floor that I was seen after five hours instead of the seven I was initially told I would have to wait.


  1. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Sister Ellie,

    I can't tell you how sorry I am that you endured such a horrific experience. I can only say...we are lucky that you are still with us.

    Thanks for the wonderful work you are doing on your blogs. Please know I will be staying in touch through this magnificent medium.

    Wishing you a healthy and wonderful 2008.

    annie c.

  2. ravenshrike1:06 PM

    You mean like the wonderful state health care system in canada?

    Or perhaps Britain?

    It's got nothing to do with the fact that our system is for-profit and everything to do with how the common person treats the health care system, as well as those undocumented immigrants who can't pay and disappear after getting treated using it. You'll notice that Britain only gets their times because they keep shutting down the worst ERs, thus removing their wait times from the average.

  3. Yes, I DO mean the wonderful systems in Canada and Britain. I have friends in both countries and they wouldn't trade with us for ANYTHING. Are there sometimes waits there? Yes, but then there are here too. No system is perfect but we pay the MOST per capita for medical care of any country in the WORLD and yet we are somewhere at number 30 for low infant mortality rates and have a huge rate of preventable deaths - much more than France, Japan and Canada. That is simply outrageous for a developed country like the US that is happy to spend trillions on unnecessary wars.

    Undocumented workers are here for a variety of economic issues - mainly those perpetrated on the world by the United States. The most egregious example is the fact that we flooded the market in Mexico with OUR cheap government subsidized corn thereby driving down prices. The small family farmer in Mexico could not possibly produce corn so cheaply and was driven in to destitution. Then a huge number of these people came to the U.S. in a desperate attempt to feed their families. They are now trying to survive on wages that are far below what is needed to live decently. What are they SUPPOSED to do when someone gets injured or sick?

    You sound completely selfish, Revenshrike. Yes you do.


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