Thursday, October 25, 2007

"A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" [*]

by Tom Bozzo

I might have responded to Ken's current titling by calling this "Another Shitty Day" after the great song by the Sneetches, but kept this clean out of respect to the bloggers who let us lower the tone of the discourse via RSS on their sidebars.

Short background:
If you have to be in the hospital, the American Family Children's Hospital is just about as good as it gets, befitting a brand-new facility; I've certainly been in less nice (though certainly far cheaper [**]) hotels. The chief of surgery just happened to be on call for the operation, the staff is very attentive, and John is recovering as well as can be expected. It gives the impression that the health care system in general is humane.

The teases.

A recurring theme of Paul Krugman's is that the health insurance system runs an expensive and officious bureaucracy for the purpose of making money by denying care (or payments for it, often effectively the same thing). We are fortunate only to be screwed by our insurer in the form of large backward-looking premium increases that make our insurance seem less insurance-like.

A related problem with more direct bearing on our situation is that Our Wonderful System tends to reward doctors for (or maybe requires [***]) spending as little time as possible with patients. Those of you who have worked in consulting, law, or other fields where one's time is sold may recognize that clients who are very persnickety about timekeeping get to pay (directly or via overheads included in the billing rates) for record-keeping that may or may not be more useful than actual work. Throw in the Murphy's Law of Children's Health, i.e., when your kid gets really sick, it will happen after 5 P.M. on Friday, and you have the makings for some big insurance claims.

[*] Readers with small children of certain inclinations may recall that in Madeline, the other girls cry boo-hoo because they want their appendixes out, too. Fat chance.

[**] As you might guess, business travel rarely brings me to Manhattan. At least the Wi-Fi here is free.

[***] I don't have direct medical back-office knowledge, and am too sleep deprived to go and learn more about it.

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Oh! Poor little guy. I hope he has a quick recovery.
OMG!! how awful for you all. Glad to hear things went OK.
What Tina and Cathy B. Said. Glad the insurance is working some and that he's on the road to recovery.

Somehow, I doubt Julia will want to follow his example.
Looking at the bright side -- it's over and done with and he wont have to worry about THAT possibility again. And the incisions are smaller these days.Right?

Best of luck to all of you, but especially him!
Thanks, everyone. He's improving on many fronts, but will not be out of the hospital until at least Monday to make sure he isn't working on an abscess. Nothing's coming easily, but he is getting good care.
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