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I’ve always said money could never buy time or your health. But two nights ago I was in the Emergency Room at a hospital in Manhattan. My partner’s blood pressure was through the roof. He’s had a fever and a massive headache for almost two weeks. So he finally checked himself into the hospital. He waited in the Emergency Room for only a few minutes before they checked him in. I headed over there to be with him as soon as I could.
It took a few hours for the doctor to get back to us regarding his blood test results. I believe the doctor was an intern and he looked like he was no older than 25. He told us that everything was normal except his EKG was a bit abnormal. He couldn’t tell us what could have been causing all these symptoms but he was confident that my partner was going to be OK. He prescribed a medication for his headaches and that was really it. We were finally able to leave the Emergency Room after several hours.
After we left the hospital, my partner was feeling a little better as his headache subsided. But the next morning he still had a headache and he still felt a little feverish. He is seeing his primary physician (again) who sent him to an internist as I write this today. And he has another appointment to see a cardiologist next week. Not to mention all the co pays to visit these doctors are adding up very quickly. We are now up to a few hundred dollars after seeing medical specialists, his regular doctor and being in the Emergency Room. And they still don’t know what is wrong with him yet.
While I was waiting in the Emergency Room with my partner, I couldn’t help but think that super rich people, politicians or celebrities would never be in here with us if they had a medical emergency. They never have to wait to be seen by a doctor and they probably have direct and immediate access to the best doctors in the world. This will eventually lead to getting the most accurate diagnosis. And then lead to the best treatments and medications that are available. Which will then ultimately prolong your life and make your quality of life that much better.
This got me very upset because for the first time I realized that the middle class and poor do not get the same medical treatment as the super-rich get. If you do not have much money, you can literally die from receiving poor medical care compared to someone else that does have a lot of money.
I was sitting in that Emergency Room watching all these poor and sick people waiting to get treated. In fact, one of the employees of the hospital said that my partner had to stay overnight for observation. My partner immediately refused and the employee asked him if anyone else had spoken to him about it? Nobody had.
A few minutes later, he returned to us and apologized because he had made a mistake. The overnight stay was meant for the patient that was next to us (behind a thin curtain), not my partner. We were relieved that he didn’t’ have to stay overnight, but on the other hand I was very concerned. How could a mistake like this occur? I started thinking if they can make a mistake like that, who’s to say they couldn’t make a mistake with my partner’s diagnosis (they never came to one) or anything else related to his health?
I guess it’s just one of those things that the middle class and poor people have to deal with when they’re in a hospital. I know everyone makes mistakes, but this is life and death we are talking about here. There are millions of cases where a patient was misdiagnosed and then eventually died from it. No wonder there are so many malpractice lawsuits that have occurred and many that are still pending.
After this experience in the Emergency Room, I just know we do not get the same medical care as people that has tons of money or deemed ‘important’ in our society.
So what can we do about it? One option is to make a lot of money or marry rich. That would guarantee you the best medical attention money can buy when you need it. Another option is for the health care industry and our laws to change. Everyone deserves to get the best medical care that is available regardless of how much money you have or how important you are.
I am not a very political person so I don’t know the first thing when it comes to trying to change the law. I hear writing to your congressman or congresswoman is one way to promote change. Participating in peaceful rallies is another way. And voting for candidates that have your best interest at heart sounds like another promising solution. But we all know how all that goes once they are in office.
The sad part is we (us poor and middle class) really don’t have a choice when it comes to getting medical help. You just have to take your chances when you need to go an Emergency Room. Pray that you don’t have to wait too long to see a doctor. And hope that you get the best physician on staff at the time to examine you properly.
To me this is simply not good enough. When I walk into a hospital, I want the comfort of knowing that I and my loved ones will be getting the best medical care they can get. Unfortunately, I felt the very opposite of this when I was in the Emergency Room a few nights ago.
So after this experience, do I think money can buy you your health? I’m gonna say ‘Hell yes it does!’
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