Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Medical frustrations


Regular readers will recall that early in January, I developed a large abscess on my left leg.  It was drained by my local physician a couple of days later, and since then I've been waiting to hear from a surgeon to get a drain installed for further healing.  Unfortunately the surgeon never called, despite repeated follow-ups.  Turns out his staff simply didn't bother to inform us that his schedule was full until late February, so we had to find someone else.  We only found that out yesterday!  Fortunately, another surgeon agreed to fit me into his schedule today, given that delay in this situation is sub-optimal.

I saw the surgeon this morning. He reckons the abscess, even though now largely drained, is simply too large to deal with in his surgery;  so I have to go into hospital on Monday for an out-patient procedure to cut it open and deal with it.  He said he wanted a properly aseptic environment, lots of lights, and professional help if needed.  Not at all what I wanted to hear (I've been in hospital a lot more than most people, and have a hearty dislike for them), but needs must, etc. 

What infuriates me is that within half an hour of his staff scheduling the surgery, I had three phone calls in rapid succession from the hospital, all from different people.  Not one of them said a word about my condition, or asked how I was doing.  All they wanted was money:  credit card info, insurance, etc.  It was never this bad in the past.  Now, it looks like health care is nothing more than a money-making racket.  Whether or not you recover is neither here nor there, just as long as they get paid!

Anyway, I'll deal with all that later.  We'll see what happens on Monday.  Thanks in advance for your prayers, friends.



Jen said...

Sorry Peter! Make sure you let them know of your dissatisfaction in your survey. They're pretty sensitive to getting bad reviews.
And yes, it is a big racket.
Best wishes for successful healing. Jennifer

1chota said...

You are absolutely correct. Medical care these days is all about the $$$.

Anonymous said...

Try tea tree oil. Works better than traditional antiseptics.

Feather Blade said...

It's bad enough that my physician's office called me to schedule an annual physical.

First time in my life that they've ever bothered with that.

Of course they haven't bothered to tell me whether to get bloodwork ahead of time, despite my asking them.
... I should call them.

Gerry said...

My wife has a ulcer on her ankle that need work about every 2 months by a wound care doctor, who by education is a vascular surgeon. He said that he could do the procedure in his office but then insurance would not cover it.
So he uses a surgical suite in the hospital with associated staff. This must cost quite a bit more but insurance pays the whole bill.

The math makes no sense to me.

BGnad said...

May the gods grant that this be as simple and clean as possible and that it heals quickly and cleanly.

Peteforester said...

As they say in "medicine," "A healed patient is a lost customer..."

I just left a message for a return call from my doctor concerning an ongoing issue. It was my FOURTH MESSAGE in THREE DAYS! ...And they have the STONES to say "Please don't leave multiple messages. We'll get back to you as soon as possible." REALLY??? "As soon as possible" exceeds THREE DAYS??? Yes, "medicine" is nothing but a cattle car operation now...

stencil said...

There was a time, many moons past, when a physician was the paradigm of the independent businessman. Now, he's just an employee, and not the most productive one.

rickr said...

Prayers up, Peter. You are, sadly, confirming the demise of what was once the greatest health care system in the world ... like so much else, now given over to spirit-of-the-age totalitarianism. Best wishes for a speedy and thorough recovery. r/

Unknown said...

I've been sad to hear of your health issues Peter. Hopefully this one heals up quickly.
I agree, it's nothing but a racket to get as much money as possible from the customer. Be happy you haven't had to go to the ER lately. I went recently for extreme abdominal pain (what turned out to be a kidney stone) and including the CT scan, the bill was in excess of $10,000 (almost 11) with myself being on the hook for $2k of it. Glad I have insurance. That was for being in the ER area (not including the 3 hour wait at reception) for about 1 1/2 hours...not bad pay for them...
Not one follow up call to see how I was doing afterwards, not even an email. Of course I did get both a call and several emails reminding me to pay my bill!

B said...

So I take it that you are done with the first doctor then?

If you keep going back to him you are approving of the actions of his office.

Rob said...

The American medical industry.

Michael said...

Depending on your insurance situation, options

Lonestar Surgery Center –
West University Place (Houston), TX

No Insurance Surgery –
Las Vegas, NV

Surgery Center of Oklahoma –
THE pioneer in cash pricing for surgery

All have excellent results as they have a reputation to protect, unlike most other hospitals.

boron said...

I have a wife (50 years now) that neither I nor the physician/surgeon can put anything off for more than 24 hours; preferably she wants/expects it done yesterday - I never really knew the meaning of the verb chivvy until I watched her in action.
Hope you're feeling better shortly

Anonymous said...

It's been that bad for a while.
I do some work for people in the healthcare industry.

They have entire teams of staff that are *waiting* for your insurance info to drop. The moment they get it, they call your insurance company to find out how much "free shit" they can beat out of your insurance.

Take dental for example. If your insurance gives you 4 free cleanings per year, you can *bet* a few minutes after your butt hits the chair, they'll be telling you that it looks like you *really* need a cleaning.

Not because you actually need it...but because the dentist *really* needs to be able to bill the insurance company some heavily inflated amounts, so that the insurance company can turn around a few weeks later and deny it, then the dentist can can re-submit paperwork arguing that it shouldn't have been denied, and then 3 months later they get a big check.

Insurance companies make big money off denying you initially (and holding on to the payment) by pretending x-rays weren't clear enough or a random board-certified dentist disagrees with the analysis...then they send that disagreement via the slowest USPS truck available so that they can keep the money invested a little bit longer...

The entire system is criminal. Insurance companies should be hanged.

Most of the medical professionals I work with inflate their "published prices" (i.e. cash over the counter price if you have no insurance) several times. They do this, because insurance companies start with the published price, and then negotiate down from there.

"We want half off XYZ procedure"


" looks like LocalBigCompany uses us for insurance...and...well...I guess we're going to have to send them to Dr. SomeoneElse because they're cheaper. You're going to lose hundreds of patients every month."

It's a complete racket.

MNW said...

Every time I here a story like this i think of:

It is a bit long but worth it I think

deb harvey said...

tea tree oil externally [test on skin first, may need dilution] and oregano oil capsules internally, with food kills all bad germs

Old NFO said...

Prayers and yes, it's now a racket that SHOULD be looked at for RICO violations... Just talked to youngest daughter, she cannot get a referral for her separated shoulder until MID MARCH!!! @#$%~#$%

Steve said...

I worked 20 years as an ER nurse. Spent time in a Catholic hospital and also in a "for profit" hospital.
In my humble opinion; the hospital environment went "tits up" when corporations decided to milk the cash cow. Once the nonprofits "we are doing this for the good of mankind" sold out to the profits; everything went south.
Also, the peripheral staff; medical assistants, CNA's, et al, are doing the jobs that nurses used to do. Nurses would "run" the doctors office and be the face of the practice. Now not so much.
You have a bunch of minimally trained hourly workers that really don't care about doing a good job. They are the ones that are supposed to inform the doctors about patients concerns; but they never seem to do that.....or they never seem to relay the message.
Hate to grouse and not have an answer BUT, there really isn't an answer when society has spawned this type of worker.

Paul Chappell said...

Yow! As I am about to look into getting some work done locally in WF this is concerning.... One of the major benefits to working for the University being excellent medical coverage (relatively speaking of course), but not hearing the best reviews for much locally and that does concern me... Not wanting to drive 2 hours to the DFW area, but...

James said...

Did 26 years in dialysis, inpatient (clinic) and acute (hospital), the games played by providers, insurers and government make you wish for a nice honest used middle eastern used camel dealer.
Best wishes for your time in the hospital, we used to figure if one of our clinic patients got admitted, they had a one in five chance of coming out with a new condition in addition to what they already had.
While the quality of some staff is still pretty good, the minority protection routine keeps a lot of truly inferior personnel on board. As far as doctors, it is the luck of the draw, about 1/3 are really good and the rest trail off from there. The most personable are often the con men. Also doctors tend to have massive egos and quality of treatment often depends on their whims. For example there is a type of dialysis that can be done daily at home that is far less hard on the body. It can extend the life of a patient by years if they start with it and then eventually end up on regular hemodialysis when it doesn't work anymore.
A doctor, who was one of the physicians that practiced in our clinic, decided that he didn't like the first type of dialysis and would discourage his patients from using it, making his patient's lives shorter and more difficult. No one in management ever called him on it as he might have pulled his cash cows out of our clinic.
Medicine is like so many other professions, once you see the inside you can never forget.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are correct.
The PEOPLE you will meet, the individuals, are some of the kindest, caringest, most incredible folks you'll ever come across in your life.
The process, the industry, the procedures, red tape, and 'business' side of healthcare is the problem. It is so ugly, so devoid of humanity, truly evil. Sad that the latter is spoiling the former. Like many, I no longer even bother to listen to what the medical community has to say. Fuckoff, you broke and lost my trust, go rot and die in the gutter. Kung Flu showed your true color - green. Its all about the money.

SLee said...

Sending good thoughts for Monday Peter.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Prayers up BRM.

Kristophr said...

If you bought a ticket to Helsinki, took the train to St. Petersburg, and stopped at the American Clinic there ( a top level private hospital ), you could get it done for a tenth of the cost, including travel fare and hotels, for a tenth of the cost.

And they will do a better job of it.

My wife needed emergency work for a nasal infection while visiting last year, and got taken care of immediately for about US$300 total. You can'y even talk to a US ER nurse for that ammount.