What has happened to basic healthcare?

What has happened to basic healthcare?

Signs of the times: What has happened to healthcare?

Here’s one story:

A middle-aged man has been a type one brittle diabetic for more than 50 years — brittle meaning glucose levels swing from very high to very low unexpectedly. It is a constant battle of food versus insulin versus exercise, a complication that often causes dire circumstances, particularly when the blood sugar is very low. The person tends toward unconsciousness and may fall without realizing it.

The man fell and grabbed for something to catch himself, lacerating and dislocating his thumb so the bone of the joint was exposed. EMTs, who are superlative in handling diabetic problems, brought him to consciousness and sent him to emergency care at 7 p.m.

Despite the fact the receptionist was told the man was brittle, had a severe open wound and hadn’t eaten or taken insulin, he sat for four hours waiting for care. At 11 p.m. he was finally seen, but the doctor could not reduce the dislocation because it had been too long since the injury occurred.

So at 1:30 a.m., 6 1/2 hours after his arrival, he was told he had to be at a surgeon’s office in another town at 7 a.m. and not to eat or drink anything. He drove himself there and received excellent care. The wound is still healing three weeks later.

This man needs a good physician and endocrinologist. Doctors in this area are quick to tell you they “don’t do diabetes.” One doctor recommended an endocrinologist about three months ago. No matter how many times they were contacted, they have never returned a call. There is a pump available that would take care of the brittle problem. It has to be recommended by an endocrinologist.

Story No. 2

I seem to have latched onto some never-ending blight. I am vaccinated and boosted, but I have had COVID twice, and for the past year, I have had a constant battle with sinus infection and unrelenting cough. I barely get over one bout when the next one comes on.

For three months I have tried to see my doctor, who is either out of the country, on vacation or won’t see me because I have “flu-like” symptoms. I happen to like this doctor very much, but I have been turned down four times now when I really needed the care. At my age I do not feel secure in just picking up and driving to Canton when I am sick. Most local doctors are not taking new patients, or the wait is two to three months out.

My father was a doctor, specializing in thoracic surgery for tuberculosis. In the small town where we lived, he mostly functioned as a general practitioner. With his little black magic bag, he made house calls and took his turn on duty at the local hospital.

Patients didn’t have insurance companies determining their fates. Without insurance they sometimes paid in chickens, eggs and produce. The beautiful painting over my mantle was payment for medical care a woman couldn’t afford.

Today’s medical personnel may say that times were easier then, that doctors today are overloaded and overworked. Really?

When I was growing up, we had tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, polio, chicken pox, mumps, measles, flu and myriad other dangerous diseases and no vaccines.

Doctors answered calls in the middle of the night. They cared. The Hypocratic Oath seems to have been squeezed into the 15 minutes of care one gets between insurance and disinterest. Maybe the good, old days really were the good, old days.

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