Monday, October 14, 2002

My mother is in the hospital as I write this.

She has been there since about 5:00 a.m. when my step-father drove her there because of chest pains. The emergency room doctors diagnosed the potentially fatal Pulminary Embolism from which she was suffering pretty quickly. A hell of a lot quicker than her regular doctor, whom my mother visited on three different occasions over the course of a couple weeks complaining of chest pains. On her last visit, just this past Friday, my mom was sent home with antibiotics and told she had a viral infection!

I know my mom is on an HMO and I don't feel I am going out on a limb in suggesting that her health was compromised because of the relationship between doctor and insurance company. Sarah told me a story today about a coworker who was ill with urinary tract problems but refused catscans by her doctors. As it turns out she has cancer of the bladder which has metastasized due to the negligence of these professionals who are sworn to protect and not harm life.

Laying this all on the doctors is, of course, unfair. It is the insurance companies who bear the most responsibility. The insurance companies who penalize doctors for pursuing expensive tests, the insurance companies who have denied my own Sarah medication prescribed by a doctor because they did not want to pay.

Tell me somebody, please, when did book keepers and accountants begin playing doctor? And, while you're at it, tell me also why we are allowing it to continue?

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