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It’s the #1 Reason: YDKWYDK
They’re getting worse. Or at least it feels that way. I’ve just spent a week away, traveling across the country for both business and pleasure. While on the road, I’ve talked to dozens of people I’ve never met before. When the subject turned to the “what do you do for a living” question, and I answered, almost every one of them regaled me with a story – one story more surprising, frightening or tragic than the next. Either they or a loved one have been caught short by the medical care system, leading to inconvenience at the least, or debilitation, a huge financial hit, or even death at the worst. There’s nothing new about the stories. I know you hear them frequently, too. Sadly, it has become a bigger surprise if someone doesn’t have a story than if they do. But what disturbs me the most about this can be summed up in one word: Volume. Now, I have no statistics to back this up, but it seems to me that I’m hearing MORE bad, sad and ugly stories about care AND cost. Or maybe it’s just that peoples’ stories are more heinous or abhorrent than they once were. Here are the stories from last week alone: Care: A man whose surgery was botched, who subsequently developed a softball sized hernia, only to have it lanced by the surgeon who thought it was a pocket of fluid…. Emergency surgery repaired it all, but – seriously – are you kidding me? (Oh, and by the way, this one took place at a well-known and respected-by-the-monied-people hospital in the San Diego area – which also unleashed a staph infection on the same man.) Care: Bait-and-switch where the student doctor took over for the experienced surgeon the patient THOUGHT would be doing her surgery. The resulting ugly, livid scar on her face makes it clear who actually performed it. Cost: A woman who scheduled her procedure carefully by making sure all providers and facilities were covered by her insurance network, only to receive medical bills weeks later for extra physicians were called in…