The tabloids read like a bad movie, a "Mad Scientist" flick about the villain who steals body parts. They grab an eye here, an arm there, a kidney somewhere else. They forget to administer anesthesia, administer paralyzing drugs without pain killers, perform unnecessary surgery, amputate body parts, steal brains.
Well, the medical profession isn't like that...is it? There are just too many errors made by surgeons, physicians, and nurses.
A recent blunder occurred in an emergency room. A woman is bleeding and is afraid she is miscarrying. There was another woman, same first name, who was in for abdominal pain, The doctor scheduled a CT for the person with the pain. But a blunder sends the pregnant woman through the CT. The baby wasn't miscarried. But the baby was exposed to radiation. The child has since been born, but there will be questions for many years to come.
Just isolated? Hardly. In the respectable part of the papers, there are reports like it almost daily. A child is in for an appendectomy. What happens? Tonsillectomy. This blunder could have cost the patient's life. A patient goes in for removal of a cancerous kidney. Ooops. Someone blunders, the wrong kidney is removed. A wrong limb is amputated.
If this is occurring at the rate it is NOW, when the government doesn't have its hands in the insurance business, what's going to happen when the patients are moved to an assembly line?
Let me tell you of two experiences I had. One was in 1973. I had just had some blood tests the day before. An intern comes in the next day, wants to draw blood. I asked WHY? You just got some yesterday! He says, "Well, you'll be going home tomorrow." That was news to me. I questioned more and discovered it wasn't me they wanted at all, but the guy in the next bed. They weren't going to get it from him, he had been discharged the day before! This blunder could have really messed me up, my family, his family. It was worth it to question.
LAST YEAR, in October, I need hernia surgery. No biggie, right? However, when they began to prepare for the surgery, they started to mark the wrong area. I said "Why are you marking there? The hernia is on my right side. " I tell you, if I hadn't asked, they may have been guilty of malpractice.
We don't need patients on the assembly line. What we need is more surgeons being checked before they operate. We need to speak up, be sure of the procedures that are being done, and where. We need to leave written instructions, have people with us who KNOW what's going on. You're likely not to see a specific surgeon again; you need to be alert.
If doctors and surgeons are so prone to this blunder-rama, we need to have more, thoroughly trained, doctors checking each other BEFORE we go into surgery. Doctors are overworked, on call 24 hours a day as it is. We have to eliminate the quacks, get the real McCoy into surgery. If we don't, we're asking for trouble.
But what happens now if the Government starts sticking its nose into insurance? The doctors who are already sorely overworked will be more so. Blunders will increase, and there will be no recourse for recompense. We simply MUST have regulation where it belongs, and that isn't in the insurance industry. We must get physicians into a better working environment. This means more surgeons, less stress for them, more available for back-up, better checking and double checking -- which will result in fewer errors.
It's not the insurance industry that will suffer most if the Government starts pushing. It's the patient. It's the Doctors. And THAT is the worry -- AS I SEE IT.