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Healthcare.Benevolent human service or exclusive, discriminatory and profitable business?

September 26th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

I have been a nurse for almost 50 years.  I trained in a  Catholic school. My training was similar to the military in that you start out very low on the totem pole and gradually build up.   I was very proud of my work and accomplishments.  Nursing school was no easy task.

I learned a lot from a nun that was an instructor.  I loved this very smart and tolerant woman.  She did not believe in birth control except for rhythm.  But, she gave out information about other forms of birth control.  Because of her dedication to Jesus and her beliefs, she couldn’t in good conscience teach us details, but certainly as nurses we should know the basics. Every patient deserved the care of a well educated and non judgemental RN.   Other things I learned as a student nurse were that regardless of race, religion, nationality or background, we were to treat everyone equally and with respect and regard.  We were given the privilege of holding the lives of human beings in our hands and caring for them.   Why can’t that simple concept play out in our current healthcare discussions?

When people say they don’t want to pay for anyone else’s healthcare, most especially people who are fat, or who smoke, or immigrants, or drug addicts, it makes me cringe.  Who would be the gate keeper for such discrimination?

Consider this.  I worked as triage nurse in an ER for many years.  Of course in an ER, nobody is turned away (which is exactly as it should be).   What if I had to sit at triage of the entire healthcare system.

#1 Patient.  60 year old male, overweight, short of breath, cyanotic.   High blood pressure, rapid pulse.  He recently quit smoking, was until recently  employed in a challenging paper mill job, and is on his second marriage with young chldren at home.  Because he lost his job, he and his family are currently without health insurance coverage.  Going by the rules of haters, I would have to deny this man healthcare because “someone else would have to pay for it”.   And he would not be able to ever get insurance again, at a decent price because he is now a “preexisting condition”.

#2 Patient.  12 year old female.  High fever, flushed face, rapid pulse.  Lethargic.  Not responding to commands appropriately.  Parents recently immigrated, and do not have insurance. Although this child is obviously very ill and may have sepsis, I have to turn her away because “someone else would have to pay for it”

#3 Patient. 30 year old female, 34 weeks pregnant, no insurance, no Medicaid because of recent cuts, no prenatal care. Very high blood pressure, and headache.  Fetal heart strong.  I would have to turn this pregnant lady (and her viable fetus) away  because “someone else would have to pay for it”   Her pre eclmapsia may kill both her and her baby.

#4 Patient  24 year old male, recently ODed on heroin.  He was saved on the street by a cop using Narcan.  He knows he has hit rock bottom and he seriously wants to go through a rehabilitation program and get clean.  Nope, he can’t come in because “someone else would have to pay for it”

#5 Patient.  92 year old woman, who has dementia. Recently kicked out of her assisted living facility because her money ran out.  Because her Governor refused to expand Medicaid and her President pushed for a plan to cap, block grant and reduce it, she has no coverage for her needed Dementia care.  Her routine and her care  is disrupted.   She is confused and agitated, because that is what happens when a dementia patient’s routine and surroundings are changed.     I wouldn’t turn her away, because she is my mother and my husband and  I would have to pay for it and do the best I could to care for her ourselves.   This rolls the cost of care rock downhill because we will spend our savings on her care. Good luck to us when our time comes.

#6 Patient.  55 year old male, pimple on his butt and runny nose.  Wants immediate care.   Great insurance coverage, and tons of money.  Come on in!

The thoughts of ANY patient being refused care are very upsetting to me.  It is against the nature of a well trained nurse or any well trained healthcare provider.  We didn’t go into our line of work to reject human beings from the “system”.

Exactly how many people would suffer, get sicker or even die if we started turning away very sick patients who are under or uninsured.  We are human beings for crying out loud.  We as part of the human race should be looking out for each other and taking care of each other.  I truly believe that everyone in this country deserves  healthcare benefits and access to quality affordable healthcare.   Our taxes would be better invested in human beings than in Wall Street.  Rather than sending billions  or trillions of dollars,, skimmed off the top for healthcare profiteers, we should be investing in the health  and care of Americans.  With proper governmental regulation, and oversight, and kicking corruption and profiteering to the curb, we can do this.

It’s time to turn our healthcare back to an everybody in and nobody out human service.

Medicare for all.  Healthcare is a human right.

addendum:  All except one of the above “patients” are fictitious, and they could have benefited from regular care in a doctors office rather than reaching a healthcare crisis.

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