Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sometimes Our Healthcare System Is Like This

Sometimes our healthcare system is like this:

I'm sitting outside a restaurant eating lunch with my brother and cousin. Out of the corner of my eye I see a woman fall.

Her wrinkles and unsteady gait betray her youthful facade. A cane bounces against the building and lands next to her. She is disoriented. Confused.

We jump out of our chairs and turn around. A flash of blazing cell phones connected to shaky hands greets our arrival. Multiple bystanders cry out in unison...we're calling 911.

The lady sits up and leans against the side of the building. Her eyes regain clarity...No...don't...I'm OK!

The cell phones recede but the crowd is restless. They form a circle around their prey ready to pounce. Are you OK? Did you hit your head? Does your hip hurt? With each question the anxiety level rises. I try to clear a path. To give her space.

We hoist her into a chair. She is beginning to recover. The owner of the restaurant hands her a glass of water.

A young athletic women bursts through the crowd. She grasps her cell phone like her hands are the jaws of life pulling an accident victim out of a car crash. She is almost yelling....I just want you to know an ambulance is on the way! She speaks into the air. To no one in particular.

As the fire truck and ambulance arrive the poor women quietly shakes her head. didn't want this.

She slouches nonchalantly and listens as the EMT tries to convince her to go to the hospital. But...I'm okay...really.. I'm okay. I just slipped while trying to get up.

They force her to sign a medical release and then the ambulance and fire truck slink away quietly.

With little hesitation. The women leans over the cain and propels herself out of the chair. She hobbles across the alley...her hips swing comfortably side to side. She walks fifty more feet and then enters a medical complex.

Even with the twenty minute delay at the restaurant...

She will be right on time

for her orthopaedic appointment.

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