What’s Wrong With Health Care in the US?
So it is 5:30 am and I am sitting in the one day surgery waiting room in a major Midwest hospital. My good wife is in this am to get her broken arm opened up and a plate screwed onto it to stabilize it. We were in this same hospital seven days ago a few minutes after she fell in our new home.
So why did it take so long to get here to surgery…and why will it cost 50% of our annual income…and did we wait and wait and wait all week and finally had to demand that the surgery not be delayed for an additional 5 days? And how does my recent experience in Chihuahua Mexico compare with this experience- as well as every other personal experience I have had there in the past two years? These are not my sentimental ramblings about things I have heard about medical care in the US and Mexico. Nor is this intended to be a political diatribe amid the current discussion about potential legislation. This is what I have experienced here and in Mexico upclose face to face and with my own money.
Let me also say that this has been a LOOOOONG week for my good wife waiting for this surgery. As you can see the bone is greatly displaced ( the surgeons comment was that its not as bad as it looks- like its just the angle the pic was taken from- tell my wife that when it grinds when she moves). There has been increasing swelling and bruising and pain during the week. So it’s not simply inconvenient for us, it has been a daily medical issue we are living with.
There is so much criticism about the land of Mexico and its people- and a clear assumption with most people I visit with that most of what happens south of the border with health care must be vastly inferior to what happens here. My direct experience is quite the opposite. Actually I hear the same comparisons related to Canada. I don’t have personal experience north of the border but I have talked with many Canadians as I have done my guide work in Mexico and they relate a different story.
Anyway, we are one of those uninsurable families and the only way for us to survive financially is to look for other options. This may slant my view- but I will try best I can to simply relate what has happened with us.
A key part of this story is that I was guiding a group through Copper Canyon on the train in January and on the last day, one of our group took a bad fall at the Pancho Villa museum in Chihuahua City. From the time she arrived at Clinico Centro to her flight back to her home, the care she received was prompt, professional, reasonably priced and truly patient centered.
My good wyfe’s last week has been quite different. Her care has been delayed and delayed, all she has experienced has been doctor and hospital centered, and the cost is – well I have already talked about that and we experience this every moment in the US now.
So it leaves me with questions. Like why if Mexico is so short on professionals and has such a backward system, why was there an orthopedic surgeon at the bedside of our guest within and hour of arrival carefully explaining (I was translating) and ready to do surgery ASAP- actually at 11p at night. I could go on and on.
There is much more to this story- on both sides of the border which I will relate directly. There are also other experiences I have had with physicians, getting regular checkup with lab work in Chihuahua, my dentist visits, how poor and older people fare and so on. I will write more about the Chihuahua orthopedic experience later.
I guess I simply wonder why, if our system is so superior, does it seem to function so slowly, expensively, and with the physicians on center stage? Help me on this.