Friday, June 27, 2008

Health care nightmare

I've been away again, this time due to a hospital visit... mine.

I'm sure you can appreciate that I don't wish to publicly disclose a lot on the World Wide Web.

But my hospital experience reinforced the criticism that America's health care system is not only broken, but the quality of treatment, well... it's not the best by a long shot.

A few examples: Five hours passed before a doctor examined me. Two more hours before a tech from phlebology drew blood. Eight vials of my blood sat for a couple of hours on a table next to my gurney before a nurse with an attitude gathered them for the lab. At midnight, another tech came back to withdraw more blood because the previously drawn blood had clotted, was too old, and not usable for testing. Yippeee! Another long wait.

The entire ordeal lasted 16 hours and we still don't know what's wrong with me health-wise.

What a fricking nightmare!

However, my experience doesn't compare to my partner's episode, who writhed in pain for four hours in the ER before a doctor examined her and sent her to surgery for appendicitis. Why so long? Her urine specimen sat for almost two hours before going to the lab. Another hour ticked by. When the test results returned, her white blood cell count was sky high, which prompted a doctor to finally examine her abdomen and immediately send her to the OR.

After three hours in the OR, the surgeon emerged to tell me that an abscess on my partner's appendix had ruptured and a second abscess had formed and burst at the time they began laparoscopy surgery. Her abdomen had been bathed with infection. The surgical team suctioned up the mess as best they could but her recovery would take time. Lots of time and treatment. Further complications might develop. And they did. Twenty-one days later, she finally came home from the hospital with tubes and drainage bags.

I know of more people with nightmarish health care stories and hospitalizations than I do of people who have had successful experiences.

Has American health care gone to hell?