I did neuro call this weekend. I’m not sure why I still do it, now that I’ve made the transition over to the outpatient surgery area. Maybe it’s a compulsion to keep my skills up with those procedures. Maybe I miss my old friends in the acute care area. Maybe I want to see my wife a little extra. She still works the main OR. Maybe the weekend is the only time the wife and I can work in a room together as a team. Maybe it’s just the extra money… I don’t know the reason why. But we did an aneurysm clipping on an HIV+ patient. Staffing was short. So, while still taking advantage of the call-in pay and the overtime, we did a trauma. The trauma was a man in his forty’s. He was four days out of prison and was high and drunk. He was going over a hundred mph and hit another car head-on, the wrong way on I-5. The entire family in the other car was all killed on the spot. This ex-con was severely injured, but lived. We spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars in surgery getting this guy put back together. Did he have insurance? Was he rich? Will our hospital see a single cent of what was spent on him… probably not.
I know that there is great ongoing debate over the Obama health system vs. the previous system of payment for “those who don’t have health care”. It has been a real political battle. I don’t agree with the Republicans, and I really don’t agree that much with the Obama plan either. In all seriousness, except for the thing with forcing Catholic hospitals do abortions, It doesn’t really matter to me. I probably could accept Obama’s plan, if only he would quit screwing around with trying to dismantle Christianity and get on with fixing the country. My liberal friends frequently try to drag me into the debate , but I can’t make myself take sides. I see socialized care, or some type of standardization inevitable. The single liberal talking point for the Obama plan is, “there are a hundred-gazillion people out there that don’t have health care!” I don’t know where this propaganda comes from, but I see prisoners, illegal aliens, indigents, all sorts of people, without two cents to rub together, getting the best health care in the free world.
Call me one of those “death panel advocates” that the Republicans criticize Obama about, but the current plan cannot continue with the current funding. My second patient of the day, was quoted by his own family “as a troubled individual” who was fond of beating his girlfriend frequently. We gave this guy over two hundred units of blood from the Red Cross. For a prisoner with multiple convictions, we depleted the blood bank in three states. Now if my own son, mother, or even Obama himself were to crash in Portland, there would be no blood available to give. This may sound crazy, but we need to weigh a person’s value to society before giving away the entire treasure trove. I don’t think any of my family is all that. But if anyone of my kin would have been injured that same night and had died because the entire blood supply was given to a sexual-abusing, ex-con, degenerate, I would have become unhinged. Same thing goes for my first patient. I don’t necessarily agree with spending literally a half million bucks for someone who is terminally ill with a disease that you get primarily from living a high risk lifestyle.
The medical system will soon implode with this level of care. How else do you explain a $16 aspirin or a $9 dollar band-aid? The current system is suffering the same problem that caused Russian empire to collapse. Basically, we have only a few who are able to pay their medical bills, and even fewer who actually pay, and no one who wants to pay. But everyone freely accesses the system. It can’t go on.