Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Not "Don't You Realize" But "Can't You See"

"'My arm was numb after I slept on it funny and my mom says I’m having a stroke,' says my essentially healthy 34-year-old patient to the nodding approval of his indulgent mother sitting by the bed.

'How long did the numbness last?'

'A couple of minutes…it went away after I straightened my arm.'

'So your arm went to sleep and now it’s better?' I ask.

'I guess so.'

'You know that just walking through that door costs you four hundred bucks?'

'It’s okay,' interjects his mother, 'He’s on disability and don’t have to pay a dime.'

And there, in a nutshell, is the problem with American medicine and why the looming government solutions are insane. Don’t you all realize that when a healthy young man can walk into an Emergency Department because his arm fell asleep and be seen by a doctor, a doctor who will dutifully diagnose him with transient paresthesias or compression neuropathy or God forbid initiate an expensive and highly unnecessary work up; when a patient can present with nothing and less than nothing and run through your money with as much concern as I have for swatting a fly…don’t you all realize that when this kind of patient can leave without being arrested for fraud that American medicine has jumped the shark and making it even more accessible at even less cost to a growing population of supremely entitled citizens will result in nothing but an exponential increase in the baseline ridiculousness of it all?"

-- Panda Bear, M.D., my erstwhile partner-in-crime - wait, actually, that should be "my erstwhile partner-against-crime" - giving you the best common sense medical (and political) advice going, as Panda Bear, M.D..

No comments:

Post a Comment