WTF—I guess that is a bit strong, but it communicates my feelings after a call I got last night from a friend of mine. What is with healthcare providers?
I know this guy (granted most stories that start out that way don’t go well, but this isn’t that kind of story) who crashed his dirt bike (or was it an ATV?) and broke his leg a few weeks ago. Young guy in his 20s, healthy, unemployed and with no health insurance…
He had done work on his vehicle in preparation to sell it. He took it out for one last ride to make sure all was well for the sale, but crashed instead, an accident. The crash resulted in multiple fractures to one of his legs. He went to the local ER, got splinted and told that once the swelling improved and they were certain it wasn’t infected at the time of the trauma they would do a surgical repair.
Back to the hospital he went 2 days ago, they loaned him a wheelchair, called a medi-van, and took him to the local orthopedist’s office. The orthopedist said that, indeed, he needed surgery for repair of the injury (and for the best outcome) and as soon as he came up with $30,000 cash he would be more than happy to do the surgery. The guy I know doesn’t have that much, so out of the office he went (with the wheelchair).
A friend of his suggested that he go to another hospital, surely they would see that he get the needed care. A young guy ought to have the treatment he needs so his leg can be the best it can be after it heals. He may need his leg to work, if a job becomes available. He might not want to spend the rest of his life in chronic pain nor with impaired mobility from suboptimal care and healing.
He went to another hospital, one his friend thought would surely help. He presented in the ER, because he had no other access to care. He was told (I am sure in a very caring way, they are a caring medical center, so much more than just a hospital) that if he paid 100% up-front they would be more than happy to give him the care he so obviously needed. There was nothing they could work out, there were no options, there wasn’t any real access to care. WTF.