Monday, December 12, 2005

Hospitals Are Dangerous Places

According to a December 11, 2005 article in the Washington Post, a nine-year-old boy died as a direct result of an English hospital's reuse of what should have been one-time-use medical equipment:

The Consequences of Cuts:
Reused Oxygen Tube Was Cheaper but Led to Death of Boy During Routine Surgery

"DAGENHAM, England -- The boy's name was Tony. But he liked to call himself 'Alfredo' just because. He baked banana bread. He daydreamed so often that his teachers worried. His mom would catch him kneeling by his bed praying, but he never talked about it. That was his secret.

"And his bike -- oh, did he love that bike. On Christmas morning in 2000, he hopped on it for the first time, teetered and chirped in delight, 'Whoohey'!

"That moment they still have. It's on home video. Tony's mom and dad don't watch it much anymore, not since July 17, 2001. That's the day Tony severely cut the tip of his right index finger on the chain of the bike. He was supposed to get stitched up. It was supposed to be routine. Except by the next morning, Tony was dead at the age of 9.

"The cause of Tony Clowes's death was 'irreversible cerebral anoxia,' oxygen starvation of the brain, according to hospital records. His parents believe their son was the victim of cost cutting.

"The hospital where Tony was to undergo minor surgery had reused oxygen tubes designated as single-use devices, according to police, government investigators and a coroner's jury. Asleep on the pre-operating room table, Tony could not breathe because the cap of another device had accidentally lodged itself inside his oxygen tube. A nurse had found that reused tube stuffed in the back of a hospital drawer.

"New, the oxygen tube cost less than $2. Used, it cost the hospital pennies.

"Although British regulators strongly discouraged the practice, Broomfield Hospital, where Tony was treated, acknowledged then that it was reusing single-use devices against the recommendation of the devices' manufacturers. Hospital officials declined to comment for this article.

"Since Tony's death, Britain has cracked down on the reuse of single-use medical instruments. But the practice has flourished in other parts of the globe, driven by cash-strapped hospitals' need to find savings.

"...Last month, the trust that runs the hospital pleaded guilty to failing to ensure Tony's health and safety; the penalty has not yet been decided.

"It has been more than four years since the accident, but Tony's mother, Carol, now 43 years old, still cannot bring herself to collect Tony's cremated remains, though they sit not five minutes away at A.G. Butler Funeral Directors.

"'I'm not ready to say this is just ashes,' she said."

The article also points out that this same practice of reusing certain medical devices has spread to other countries, including France, Germany, China, and the United States. In fact,
"...[I]t is becoming increasingly common in the United States, where the practice originated, and is condoned by government regulators despite periodic reports of patient injuries...."
A second article in the same edition of the Washington Post contains the following information:
"A growing number of U.S. hospitals, including at least eight in the Washington area, are saving money by reusing medical devices designated for one-time use, ignoring the warnings of manufacturers, which will not vouch for the safety of their reconditioned products.

"Hospitals are not required to tell patients that reconditioned devices will be used in surgery -- surgeons themselves often do not know. The Food and Drug Administration regulates the practice, and many hospital administrators say reusing single-use devices is not only cost effective but also poses no threat to patients because the instruments are cleaned with such care that they are as good as new.

"But single-use devices have malfunctioned during reuse, federal records and interviews show. In one instance, an electrode from a catheter broke off in a patient's heart. In another, a patient's eyeball was impaled. And an infant who for months gagged and retched on a resterilized tracheal tube now can take food only from a tube attached to his stomach....

"The FDA allows manufacturers to choose between getting approval for a device to be used once or multiple times. Companies are frequently choosing one-time use, which means their products do not have to be as sturdy, their liability is diminished after the first use and they are ensured a steady stream of replacement orders. The manufacturers often ship the devices sealed individually in sterile packaging, marked with warnings that they are not to be reused....

"Hospitals in all 50 states and the District, including many of the nation's leading hospitals, are believed to reprocess at least some single-use devices. In the Washington region, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, where the president gets his checkup, at first said it did not use reprocessed devices. But after The Post independently confirmed that it does, the medical center said it does use them on a limited basis. So do Suburban Hospital Healthcare System in Bethesda, four Northern Virginia hospitals in the Inova Health System, and George Washington University Hospital and Greater Southeast Community Hospital in the District. 'Because of the rising cost of health care and medical supplies, reprocessing is a cost effective way to provide a high quality product to our patients,' GWU said in a statement. The other hospitals echoed the sentiment....

"Device makers say the single-use tag is not just a label. 'Single-use devices typically contain difficult-to-access areas that create barriers to cleaning and permit blood, tissue or other bodily fluids to contaminate the reprocessed device, allowing potential transmission of viral and bacterial infections,' said Stephen J. Ubl, president and chief executive of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, which represents device makers worldwide..."
Early this year, I lost one of my most favorite relatives, my cousin-in-law Jim. As far as I know, the cause of his death wasn't a reused medical device. Yet Jim's death and the above-cited article have a connection: unnecesary medical risks were taken and not on the part of the patient.

A few years back, the doctor noticed that Jim's cholesterol level was a bit elevated. Therefore, even though Jim's cholesterol was only marginally high, as a preventive measure, the doctor prescribed a statin. Jim had never been seriously sick a day in his life, but he followed his doctor's orders. The result: an unusual and severe reaction to the statin. The reaction went undiagnosed for some time--that's how rare the complication was!

As a result of the wasting of muscle tissue, Jim began having chest pains and was admitted to the hospital. All cardiac tests were normal, but by this time, the doctors had realized their neglect of the reaction to the statin. As a precaution, Jim underwent the procedure for the insertion of a pacemaker which, it turned out later, he didn't even need. Despite its supposed sterility, this pacemaker had antibiotic-resistant staph contaminating it.

Jim, a big jokester and a fine athlete, became disheartened at his ever mounting aches and pains. He wasn't the man he once had been. Over a period of some months of massive doses of various medications for the stubborn staph infection, Jim sank into chronic illness with cardiac and respiratory complications, became housebound, and had to retire early--on disability.

Last March, after some four years of one type of misery or the other, Jim succumbed to congestive heart failure. When I got the phone call that Jim had passed, I couldn't believe it! His wife and I are first cousins, but not of the see-each-other-every-day or whine-about-your-problems type, so that phone call caught me unawares. When I saw my cousin's number ocme up on Caller I.D., my first thought was "One of the girls is getting married!" But when I learned the horrible details of Jim's course of illness, I became angry--very angry. Certainly Jim's many doctors had had the best of intentions, but what happened was medical error compounded by medical error.

Jim's funeral was not a celebration of life, though the occasion was time for the whole family to gather. We gathered under a cloud of sadness and injustice. Jim was too young to have died in such a manner. He left behind his wife of some forty years and seven children: two of his own and five adopted boarder babies. Those children ranged in age from thirty-eight to seven years of age, and the youngest ones will never get to know their wonderful Dad as well as they should have.

This Christmas will be this family's first without husband and father. I suspect that it will be a sad time for that family, despite the September birth of the widow's first grandchild, with whom Jim's second daughter was, unbeknownst to any of us, pregnant at the time of his death.

Then, this past weekend, I read those above-cited article in the Washington Post. Today, December 12, 2005, "Reused Devices Attract Entrepreneurs, Scrutiny" appeared in the the newspaper and made the point that recycling these medical devices is big business. In many ways, this article is more of the same as the first two, with hollow promises of more oversight by the FDA. The final paragraph is chilling:
"Some think more oversight is needed. Massachusetts has introduced a bill that would require hospitals in that state to obtain permission from patients before using a refurbished single-use device on them. U.S. hospitals are not required to obtain such patient consent. The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council said not enough has been done to 'protect patients from potential contamination and injury from reprocessed' single-use devices. The trade group said the savings hospitals accrue from reprocessing 'may come at the price of jeopardizing patient safety.'"
Whatever happened to "First, do no harm"? Patients here in the United States have come to expect state-of-the-art medical care. These reused medical devices, however, put patients in jeopardy and bring unnecessary grief to their families. Who will be held accountable?


At 12/12/2005 9:33 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

Shhhh, you'll go and make everyone start to doubt the benifits of socialized medical care!

At 12/13/2005 10:31 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Uh g, you'll notice that the same recycling practice is being used in the U.S. Not that we ever have deaths in U.S. hospitals due to negligence or the like but I thought I'd point it out.

Your next assignment is to research the difference between socialized medicine and single payer. The left is pushing for single payer and you, as a rightard, are probably just happy watching things go to hell as long as you don't forsee a need for medical care.

At 12/13/2005 11:02 AM, Anonymous Dane Foredermis ESQ said...

Patrons of this Blog are advised that they will be held responsible for any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or harmful material of any kind or nature posted by their respective ISP. Patrons are cautioned not to transmit via comments, including links to any material that encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law or regulation."

Ah it seems to me Mr. Ducky's comment about "rightard" is defamatory to two groups -- you, and the mentally handicapped, and is in violation of above warning posted on this site.

At 12/13/2005 12:07 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

I could understand if this had happened in a Third World country strapped for cash and medical supplies but not in Europe and definitely not here in United States. Why would we even introduce a bill requiring patient consent before reusing a single use item? Hospital bills are already outrageous. Though rising cost of medical care has far outstripped the rate of inflation. Somebody is pocketing a few bills.

At 12/13/2005 12:30 PM, Blogger Camerinus said...

"The left is pushing for single payer and you, as a rightard, are probably just happy watching things go to hell as long as you don't forsee a need for medical care."

I'm curious as to what exactly is a rightard?
Apparently you are either unaware of the Republican plan for healthcare or your just another ideologue whose only concern is to make a point and not to bring about positive change.
You're probably saying that there is no Republican plan...too bad you haven't figured out how to do a simple Web search. Don't worry..I will spell it out for you briefly...that is if your attention span can handle more than simplistic ideological slogans.

Republican Party on Health Care

A reformed Medicare will give seniors choice, flexibility
Give older Americans access to the insurance plan Congress has, including medical savings accounts. Build on the strengths of the free market system, offer seniors real choices, and make sure there are incentives for the private sector to develop drugs. No more one-size-fits-all. Medicare also needs new measures of solvency. We must reduce the administrative complexities. A reformed Medicare program will provide reimbursement at levels that will permit providers to continue to care for patients.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention Aug 12, 2000

Give individuals tools to manage their own health needs
Individuals should be free to manage their own health needs through Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) and Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). These initiatives make a government takeover of health care as anachronistic as surgery without anesthesia. Individuals should be able to roll over excess FSA dollars from one year to the next, instead of losing their unspent money at the end of each year. MSAs should be a permanent part of tax law, offered to all workers without restriction.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention Aug 12, 2000

Allow customization of insurance, support health centers
A major reason why health insurance is so expensive is that many state legislatures require policies to provide benefits that many families do not want. These mandates increase costs for everyone. One area of health care that is sadly ignored is the role of primary and preventive care. We will boost funding for community health centers and establish stronger public-private partnerships for safety net providers and hospitals in underserved communities.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention Aug 12, 2000

Lawyers should not hold physicians hostage
A key step will be reform of malpractice law. In its current form, it encourages health care providers to conceal even innocent mistakes, lest they be subject to vilifying publicity through the trial lawyers. We must open up the flow of information concerning medical errors.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention Aug 12, 2000

I'm sure this was a waste of time..anybody going by the name of Mr. Duckey(first named Donald?) is probably is a few working synapses short of a moron.

At 12/13/2005 12:37 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

Duck, thanks for the “mission” leftard (I know, I violated the warning too), but I know fully what the “single payer” system is, and it is still socialized healthcare. Those in favor of try to disassociate it from the term for PR reasons.

But if the government is the ONLY one paying for health care… then they are paying the doctor’s wages… just indirectly through a middle man of whatever hospital that the doctor happens to work for.

And don’t think it wouldn’t lead to sub-standard health care, because once the government has ALL healthcare paid for by them, they have a monopoly on the source of revenue for the doctors, and thus would begin to dictate price rate doctors are “allowed” to charge. This would drive the good doctors, capable of making more money, into to “private” sector where only the Extremely rich would have access to the best care.

The current argument for this big shift is that it isn’t “fair” that poor people with no job cant get medical insurance and then have every medical whim covered, regardless of the fact that in an emergency, a public hospital is required to treat them. So bottom line, if you can afford it, you can get every ailment treated. If you don’t have the money, you don’t.

But the left’s version of “fair” is that almost everyone gets to share the misery equally by making the best health care only go the extreme elite, and the rest of us just get the scraps and doctors that are not good enough to get off the government teet.

Every time the left tries to get government to make things “fair”, they screw it up more. When will you learn that government involvement just evens things out by making EVERYONE share the misery, not by reducing it.

At 12/13/2005 1:16 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

What is a "rightard". In brief I would define the condition as a belief in the absolute efficacy and infallibility of markets.

We can see the market in action in the case AOW has posted. I posit that a rightard will try to trace the problem to anything BUT the market action.

At 12/13/2005 2:27 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'm about to dash off to work, but here's a little excerpt about Michael Moore from
Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=20518 :

In a recent speech broadcast on C-SPAN, Michael Moore complains that a "crazy person" (that would be me) has been spreading lies about him, including the story that he owns stock in a number of evil vicious multinational corporations, including Halliburton. "Michael Moore own Halliburton stock?" the anti-corporate activist told his supporters at the Paul Wellstone Memorial Dinner. "See, that's like a great comedy line. I know it's not true - I mean, I've never owned a share of stock in my life." He went on: "Anybody who knows me knows that, you know - who's gonna believe that? Just crazy people are going to believe it - crazy people who tune-in to the Fox News Channel." (Looks like this crazy person is in good company.)
On the back cover of my book, I include part of Michael Moore’s 990PF that he files with the IRS for a tax shelter he and his wife set up and control. The form clearly shows that Moore bought and sold shares in Halliburton and a number of other vicious, evil corporations. Look through the tax forms from 1998 to the present, and you will find more of the same.

How is it possible for Michael Moore to say he doesn’t own any stock while his tax forms say otherwise?...

I rather imagine that you don't put much stock in FPM (bad pun, I know), but I just thought I'd pass this on anyway.

At 12/13/2005 3:12 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

What is it with the rightard's fascination with Michael Moore? I don't get it. He made a couple films which weren't bad but he's hardly Fred Wiseman or Francesco Rosi or anyone in that league.

Primarily a media creation who gets far too much publicity (but he gets that publicity from the right).

At 12/13/2005 3:14 PM, Blogger samwich said...

Has anyone here ever heard of "The Cure For All Diseases" by DR. Hulda Clark? Or "The Cure for All Cancers" or "The Cure for Aids"? Same author.
How about "Olive Leaf Extract" by Dr Morton Walker.

I have not had a cold or flu for over eight years. Some have tried to take hold but Dr. Clarks protocols kill them in less tha 36 hours.

People who do not read are no better off than those who cannot read.


At 12/13/2005 4:07 PM, Anonymous Felis said...

A comment just outside all politics;
- What an absolute, depressing nightmare.

This one is not:
My younger brother used to work in a children hospital back in Poland during the "good old" communist days.
The number of kids there, who died daily because of the state imposed and administered, free for all medical system was unbelievable.
To get a better treatment for your child you had to bribe doctors and nurses.
The state told the doctors they had fair wages as everybody else so of course they "had to" get this extra income somehow since they were not in any position to have a private practice.
I remember one story he told me when the parents brought back their 4 year old kid to this hospital complaining that the plaster which the hospital applied to the kid’s broken leg caused some problems because their son cried.
The doctor on duty admitted this poor child back to the hospital for 2 day observation.
Of course nobody bothered to check on this kid (hysterical parents, you know) and so the child died at night (gangrene).
You would be surprised, but our indifference to human suffering is closely related to our material well being.

At 12/13/2005 5:32 PM, Blogger sissyblue said...

As someone who has been in Canadian hospitals and American hospitals, I can tell you that American hospitals are 100x better than their Canadian counterpart.

Picture those old WWII hospitals in the movies and that pretty much sums up the socialized CA hospital scene. Now picture a Hilton Hotel with doctors and nurses... the American version.

Seriously, that's how dramatic the difference is.

Furthermore, if you break your hip in Canada the wait list is 1 year. Oh, and they're having a hard time making ends meet so now all "old people" medicines, like treatment for arthritis, is now not covered.

My parents still live up there, and my mom said she'd rather just die at home than go into the local hospitals.

It does no one any good to hide their head in the sand and pretend things are not what they are.

At 12/13/2005 5:33 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I haven't heard of Dr. Clark, but I have heard of the benefits of olive leaf extract. My best friend is quite informed about natural and alternative medicine, and she recommend OLE to me, as well as astragalus.

But this year I think I found something which works even better than the above herbs as far as boosting the immune system in concerned: Nikken Immunity 14 Mushroom Extract. I haven't been sick (at least not to any extent) since starting "mushrooms," as those of us taking these capsules term them. Well, I did pick up an upper-respiratory virus over the summer, but I wasn't taking my mushrooms once the school term ended.

People who do not read are no better off than those who cannot read.
You're right, of course. The problem is finding time to read all the things I should be reading.

At 12/13/2005 5:47 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The reason I brought up that info about Michael Moore is twofold:

1. You mentioned in another comment to another blog article how Moore had it right about GWB and the Saudi connection. I'd go fetch your exact comment, but I don't have time to do so at the moment.

2. I heard that Moore was making or had made a film which exposed the health-care industry. I wondered if he had cited cases such as the ones here.

So...if the FPM article is accurate, Moore isn't quite the philanthropist he portrays himself to be. In fact, he's a capitalist, right? That's funny! The darling of the Lefties is a capitalist! With investment in Hallibruton! Hehehe.

Primarily a media creation who gets far too much publicity (but he gets that publicity from the right).
Not quite as to all that publicity coming from the Right. But you;re right about his getting too much publicity.

I bet Moore's investment in Halliburton won't get much attention from the Left.

At 12/13/2005 6:47 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'm convinced that my cousin-in-law Jim died as a result of medical negligence. I tried to "put a human face" on what I perceive to be an unnecessary tragedy. Here we live, in the Washington, D.C., area which has some of the best medical care available in the United States, and still Jim is gone.

Yes, medical care in Canada and in other countries with socialized medicine is worse. And what Felis described in his comment is beyond tragic. We should all remember to be grateful for the level of care in this country, even if that care is not perfect. But I doubt that what I just said is much consolation to Jim's family.

Government involvement doesn't seem to be the answer, does it? Even the so-called oversight of the FDA isn't resulting in taking care of the reuse of one-time medical devices.

From what I've read and from own personal observations and experiences, which go beyond my story about Jim and which I have related in the blog article, I agree with G: Every time the left tries to get government to make things “fair”, they screw it up more. When will you learn that government involvement just evens things out by making EVERYONE share the misery, not by reducing it.

Sooner or later, most of us will need medical care. Do we want the quality of that care to be a roll of the dice?

I believe that incompetence and negligence have arrived to all phases of medical care in our nation. And, as I see it, the solutions aren't simple.

Also, it seems to me that the more expensive health insurance and medical care become, the worse the outcome for some of the patients. At what point will the outcome be unacceptable for the majority of the patients?

Patients aren't usually capable of shopping around, and even if they do, from what I've learned about those medical devices, the best of doctors can't control the quality of the devices being used.

I also want to make the point that the problems with medical care in this country go beyond unavailablity to the poor; the issue of national health care is a political football, and the losers are all patients.

One of these days, somebody powerful enough and high-profile enough will die as a direct result of medical error and/or negligence, and then people will gasp, "How could this happen?" But for most of us, that realization will be too late. We're getting plenty of warning signs right now. Who is heeding them?

My advice: Stay well!

At 12/13/2005 7:00 PM, Blogger sissyblue said...

AOW: My condolences to you and your family. I came near to death during my stint in the hospital, and am pretty sure I caught a second type of pneumonia during my stay. One of the reasons they want to get people "up and out" quickly is because it's dangerous being there. That being said, 100 years ago I would have died, no question. I thank God for all the blessings of medical advancements we've seen in the recent past.

We're all faced with the inescapable fact of death. How we live our lives is what counts. Whether we grumble and complain, or do our best and express gratitude for what we have. I guess what bothers me most about the "left" is that they're such a bunch of whiners, always grumbling, arrogant and angry.

At 12/13/2005 8:52 PM, Blogger Raven said...

Well speaking as one who works in healthcare, I can say without a doubt that this practice of re-using medical devices has been around for as long a medicine has been around. It is a sad fact. It is not always the cause of hospital acquired illness though. One has a much higher chance of catching a nasty bug because the nurses and doctors don't wash their hands. Trust me on this. The act of cleaning medical supplies is pretty simple-using autoclave machines kills 100% of all known germs. Plastic parts cannot be autoclaved. Metal parts can be and it's ok to do this. Dental offices rarely throw out their supplies and often reuse them.
Many a hosital employee carries these staph infections, without symptoms, and pass it on to patients who are physically vulnerable. The single most important reason so many patients are so vulnerable??
An interesting thought:
Over in England a hospital has gone "antibiotic" free, that is, they do not admit patients who are on antibiotics, they don't prescribe them, they don't use the on the patients...this hospital has done this for two years now and have had NO infections. Zero. That says a lot. Not one case of infection has been reported, no deaths, no germs growing out of control on the hospital surfaces...I think we as a society have a lot to do with medical illness...using and abusing antibiotics, expecting them to cure every little cold and cough we have. This alone leads to more infection than almost ay other factor. Once we become immune to a certaina antibiotic, it no longer works on any disease we catch. It's the same thing with surfaces in hospitals (and our homes...) the germs become stronger and can survive government mandated cleaners (antibiotic hand soaps are terrible things...don't use them!!)

At 12/13/2005 9:17 PM, Blogger europenishead said...

Socialized Health Care:

As a victim of Canada's health care and well off enough to afford private US Medical Care;

The profit motive forces competition and improvement. The free market allows for punishing litigation for the incompetent.

With socialized medicine the government employees are protected by government. No errors are admitted as the state would be responsible.

Actually if you are dying, delay will finish you off while you wait your turn and no one is accountable.

You are the person responsible to educate yourself well enough to prosper.

You are the person responsible to educate yourself about health and safety.

Socialism is for the lazy and power hungry.

Socialism gets the "Gold Mine", the industrious get the shaft.

At 12/13/2005 9:37 PM, Blogger samwich said...

Whoosier, you ain't funny, on this blog use a respectable name.

At 12/14/2005 12:58 AM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Hey Ducko

Look on a map where I live. Why are half the car plates at our local doctors from Canada. The system in Canada doesn't work so people opt out

At 12/14/2005 3:13 AM, Blogger danblather said...

Sam, you honor Kerry in your way and I will honor him in my way.
Your respect for this blog is commendable, practice what you preach on some of the other blogs I see your moniker on.
Ok but only this one!

At 12/14/2005 10:56 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Well AOW regarding Moore. I don't think many disagree that during the whole (misnamed) "War On Terror", Bush has gone pretty easy on Saudi Arabia. They have been profiting nicely and Moore was pretty straight on. You may even agree

If he's doing a film on health care, fine. It might be worthwhile.

The question of why the right considers him to be an icon still remains unanswered.

At 12/14/2005 12:19 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Duck: The question of why the right considers him to be an icon still remains unanswered.

From The Merriam-Webster Dictionary: icon 1. image, esp a religious image painted on a wood panel. 2. a small picture on a computer display...

Certainly Moore doesn't fulfull either of those standard definitions.

But I know what you mean.

Many students, high school and university, particularly the liberal ones, take Moore very seriously, so maybe they consider him an "icon," as in a prominent figure who publishes the truth. I've noticed that this generation of students has a tendency to accept as fact most everything they see on the screen.

I can't think of a single Hollywood director whom I consider an "icon." But, then again, I'm not much of a movie fan.

I don't dispute that GWB has ties to Saudi. We agree there.

As to the health-care system, I have less and less faith in it (though I know we have many dedicated individuals working as nurses and doctors). My husband and I have been caught more than once in the medical-insurance loop. One time, the hospital ran the wrong type of MRI, and I had to fight like a dog to get that bill adjusted. More recently, our HMO denied filling a prescription for my husband's clinical depression, the result of brain surgery. The previous HMO filled the prescrip with no problem, but now my husband has to go without that medication. It's not pretty, let me tell you!

I could cite more instances of our battles with the health-insurance carriers, but I refuse to turn this entire comment into one long gripe.

If Moore is doing a film on health care, I'd be interested to see that film. As I say, I have more than a passing knowledge of some of the problems with the system.

PS: We agree on something else. (Am I really agreeing with you? Yes! Hehehe. Well, it IS the season of goodwill, after all.) WOT is not a correct term.

At 12/14/2005 1:52 PM, Blogger Esther said...

It's do not harm but it's also, sadly, a business watching its bottom line. :(

At 12/14/2005 2:01 PM, Blogger Camerinus said...

Donald Duck..I can't say I'm surprised with your definition of a "rightard".
Apparently it's everyone who disagrees with you. I've never seen someone who uses more words to say so little. Wouldn't it be easier to say nothing? At least that way no one will notice what's so obvious when you start typing.

At 12/14/2005 3:49 PM, Anonymous GM Roper said...

Death of a child is always tragic. Under these circumstances it is probably criminal. Checking for a blockage in a USED tube should have been a no brainer. I guess the little guy's life wasn't worth $1.95. Sad!

At 12/14/2005 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be almost willing to bet that these same hospitals that reuse single-use devices are billing their patients the price of a new device, which would add even more deception to the practice. The attorneys that are looking into malpractice because of reused devices should also be looking into ripoffs on the patients and their insurance companies for billing the full price of a new single-use device while secretly pocketing the difference made by the substitution of a refurbished device.

At 12/14/2005 10:42 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I think you're right about that billing. I also suspect that sometimes the hospitals don't even know about the reuse.

While I'm sure that Raven is correct about devices having been reused for many years, these one-time use devices pose problems with reuse. Frightening stuff!

With all the Baby Boomers coming into their health-care years, we can expect more emphasis on the bottom line.

At 12/14/2005 10:46 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The free market allows for punishing litigation for the incompetent.
If one can obtain the data for the litigation. My cousin's widow is fighting that right now.

I agree with all your other points, particularly this one: With socialized medicine the government employees are protected by government. No errors are admitted as the state would be responsible.

And thanks for switching names. I sincerely appreciate it.

At 12/14/2005 10:49 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Sissy Blue,
Thank you for your condolences. As I mentioned in the article, this will be a sad Christmas--without Jim. Death is inevitable, but harder to take under certain circumstances.

At 12/14/2005 10:50 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The bottom line is overriding the Hippocratic Oath. Of course, the businesses doing this recycling haven't taken the Hippocratic Oath.

At 12/14/2005 10:55 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Maybe Duck will stop back by to address your comment. We'll see.

At 12/14/2005 10:56 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Surely a little boy's life is worth more!

At 12/15/2005 9:52 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Camerinus, you give me nothing to respond to. Again, let me highlight the rightards belief system:

1. Belief in the complete efficacy on inerrancy of "the market". Generally you have some form of libertarian/Ayn Rand mix. They are also notable for a common misunderstanding of Adam Smith and a grasp of economics that doesn't go beyond "supply and demand".

2. They have supreme faith in military strength. This leads to insane ideas like "bringing democracy to iraq". This is troubling since the belief in military force is also coupled to their common trait of never taking responsibility for our nations actions. An recent example would be the rightards opposition to African debt relief because African leaders are corrupt. Well that's true to some extent but when America props up someone like Seko in the Congo for decades it may be time for rightards to admit that we helped create the situation and responsible people don't turn their back on it.

Same thing is going on with our backing of dictators in Uzbekistan and central asian countries.

Those are the two primary qualities. At the base of it all is the constant personality trait. Rightards are frightened. They live scared. We can discuss that if you like.

At 12/22/2005 4:05 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

Thank you AOW,
And Merry and Happy Christmas to you and your family.

At 8/24/2009 2:23 PM, Anonymous Dr Hulda Clark said...

Always obey your doctor instructions.


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