Friday, November 06, 2009

Angry at the Wrongs of Our Health Care System

So currently, I and my family are among the supposed lucky ones in our nation to have insurance, an HMO. You'd think that if anything was wrong with us, we'd have at our resources the best people available to solve the problems. And we'd be able to pay for those solutions because we have insurance.
[Big Angry Buzzer] Wrong!!!

So a family member of mine has had two different pain conditions for the longest time. And since I love this person so much, I've tried everything I can to figure out how to fix it or ease it or something.

With the first pain condition, we saw our primary care physician a few times (all at $25 a pop) and then we were referred to a neurologist. No offense to the good neurologists that I'm sure must exist somewhere in Atlanta, but the two different ones we visited for my family member SUCKED. They tried to tell us it was carpel tunnel syndrome (something I've seen first hand and KNEW wasn't it.) But NOOOOOO, the doctor knows everything and was so positive it was carpel tunnel that my already in-pain family member had to go through an extremely painful nerve induction test to find out that guess what??? It's not carpel tunnel.... something I told both doctors during the first visit... Total of primary care and specialist visit copays: over $200.

So basically, we paid these doctors to torture my family member with that damned nerve induction test and then tell us that they had no idea what was causing the problem, go see another specialist. At this point my family member gave up on the system and just learned to deal with the pain and loss of hand dexterity.

So lo and behold, over the last month, the other pain condition flared up, and my family member refused to go to the doctor because they didn't want to get their hopes up and have them shattered again. After it gets too painful, we agree to go to our primary doctor (a different one who happened to graduate from Yale School of Medicine). I thought to myself, okay this time it's going to be different.

As soon as the primary doctor examines my family member, she immediately refers him to a general surgeon because she thinks something is torn inside. $25.00 to find out this possible diagnosis. Two days later when we're able to get in to see the surgeon (and by now the pain is at a 10 on a 1 - 10 scale), and after a ten minute exam at 3:40 yesterday... and without sterile gloves even, the surgeon says sorry I can't help you, it's not the problem your doctor thought it was. So essentially, I paid $25 for this other doctor to hurt my family member even more during the probe of the painful area.

I walk back into the primary doctor's office yesterday around 4pm and demand the doctor find the cause of my family member's pain so they can get some relief. Doctor has no idea what to do other than tell us to go to the emergency room... Yay, we're going to the emergency room in the middle of a flu outbreak.

4:15, we walk into the emergency room door, sign in and after a 20 minute wait, are seen by the triage nurse. She tells us the rooms are all full but we're the next in line. 5:15 rolls around and they finally call us back to a room. And when we get into the room, that's when we have to pay the $50 copay for an ER visit. A doctor comes in and spends ten minutes doing the same kind of exam that surgeon did earlier in the day. Then he decides to order a CT and an ultrasound. Whew, I think. We're finally going to get an answer. But my family member is still in pain and finally around 8pm they come in and give him a shot of something for the pain.

Now keep in mind, my family member hasn't eaten anything since midnight because they thought they were going to have surgery that day. But eating is still not allowed because it might mess with the tests.


We then have to wait for over another hour to get the test results back. Guess what?!?!?! Everything looks normal except for a teeny bit of extra fluid somewhere, but that fluid shouldn't be causing the pain because it's seen on both sides of the body and the pain is only on one side.

Bottom line, we paid people to poke and prod my family member, cause more pain, waste lots of time only for them to say we have to go to yet another specialist. We didn't walk out of the emergency room until after 11pm last night.

So for all these people who are screaming and scared about having to wait in lines for the boogeyman of socialized healthcare... WAKE UP PEOPLE, WE ALREADY ARE! And those of us with insurance are actually paying for the privilege of doing so.

$100 personal money spent and over 8 hours of our day wasted. (And that $100 may not seem like much to some people, but when you're laid off and trying to save every penny, that's way too much to have to spend for little to absolutely NO results) Speaking of results... our end result, a prescription for a pain med and a referral to another specialist who I doubt will be able to help us.

And guess what, my family member is so disgusted that if this next specialist can't figure it out, that's the end and they're going to stop trying to get it fixed.

Not only do I feel taken advantage of by the system, but I feel emotionally raped. We get our hopes up time and time again that someone's going to actually find a solution only to hear, Nope, we don't know, and ha ha... you had to pay us to tell you that.

Maybe I should start learning the words to Oh Canada... my Canadian friend tells me this would never have happened there.

My whole life, I've worked hard to tone down emotional reactions and be calm and rational. I don't pass the buck and I try to fix as much as I can and not try and throw blame around, but if I or my family member has caught one of the flu viruses after all the rest of this mess we had to deal with, I am so going to verbally throttle someone.

Last night was finally the straw that broke this long patient camel's back. I've tried to be good and do the right thing, and all I've gotten for it is wasted money and the horrific chance to see my family member clenching teeth through pain. Do you know how much it hurts me to see my loved one hurting—really hurting—and not be able to do a damned thing about it???

So I don't care who has to do what. Mr. President and Members of Congress, get off your collective asses, stop dilly-dallying around with lobbyists and special interests (corporate or otherwise), and actually do something for our substandard American Health Care system instead of talking about it all the time!!!


  1. Anonymous5:21 PM EST

    I totally agree with you Tammy, I have had similar experiences with the healthcare system in this country and have had others that were fabulous, it is the lack of consistancy in the way healthcare facilities practice as to whether or not you will find a solution to your ailment or not. I know alot of people get into the doctor business because it is where the money is and that is not a good reason to be a doctor or any kind of health care provider from orderlies and nurses right on up to specialists. My daughter and I have had a couple of experiences where the doctor in question SUCKED and then others where the doctor was phenominal. One Psychiatrist in particular, I wanted to throttle because he just wanted to medicate her and not really find out what her problems were, she was already diagnosed as being severely depressed and so he just went with that instead of talking to her and me and finding out what else could possibly be wrong when the medications weren't working that well. Come to find out lately with the newest doctor that she is ADD and wouldn't you know I had suspected that from the time she was 4 years old, but never got a doctor who would listen to me or to her. Actually I thought she was ADHD but anyway, I was close. When she was a teenager I thought she might be bipolar like me since it runs down the mothers line usually, no, it was ADD. At least someone listened. The point is the difference between these two doctors is amazing, one wanted the money from the several visits he scheduled every 15 minutes through the day and the other one was listening to what was coming out of my daughters mouth and really hearing the situation. The first doctor is probably one who got into the business to get rich and the other one did it for the love of helping people. Therein lies ONE of the problems with our healthcare system, it needs to be picked through and the jackasses who do it for the money should be weeded out. Then there should be a cap put on how much a doctor or hc facility can charge for any given procedure and regular visit, and in cases like yours where one doc hands you off to another cause he is not sure what you got or too lazy to try and figure it out, you should be refunded the copay since he did nothing for you. And then watch the ones that are in it for the money run like the wind to become lawyers, lol. Then you need to do the same thing to the insurance companies, put a cap on how much they can charge you for premiums, take the cut throat business out of it and put in its place an element of " WE CARE" at the heart of it and then you will see the insurance companies quickly turn into used car dealers,lol. The insurance companies don't give a shit about you or your health, only the profit made for the year,and that includes not paying out if they can get away with it, leaving you holding the bag and the bills. And in the middle of all this, the patient suffers until they finally die from noone caring about them, the whole reason for both the hc system and the insurance companies.

    I agree with Tammy, it is time to take action and do something about the sorry state of our nations healthcare and stop sitting around debating it and talking about it, while other countries already have a better system and their citizens don't worry about getting care because it is always there if they need it. In alot of these countries you may have to sit in line for hours on end to get that care, but at least you get to the end of the line where someone is waiting to help you.

  2. Anonymous7:59 PM EST

    I just read an article in my food co-op magazine that was talking about doctors possibly forming a medical co-op where they wouldn't be held captive to the ridiculous insurance mandates. How awesome would that be?! It's not medically proven but maybe your family member could be helped by an acupunturist.


  3. I agree too. I have had some very negative experiences with health care, or rather the lack of it.

    I've been on both sides of this issue. I have had insurance and not had insurance. I will spare you all the details. I feel that others have already summed up my point of view rather succinctly and eloquently.

    Mrs. Payne well said very well said.

  4. Thanks for the comments, ideas and support. I would love to see a medical co-op created and run by doctors, and I'm also going to check into an acupuncturist.

    Now if we can just get everyone we know to flood our representatives with these stories or similar ones, maybe we can make that change happen.

    I've already done so. For any of my readers in GA, our senators' contact links are:


    To find your own representative, try this site:

    Thanks again to everyone. Have a great day!


Greetings! Thanks for joining in the conversation on my blog. Please know that I am all about listening and not judging. Please follow the Golden Rule when posting. Be kind to others and if you disagree with me or another commenter, please do so politely. Thanks and have a lovely day!