This past week my eight-year-old daughter suffered from some fairly serious abdominal pains so we took her to see her primary-care physician. The appointment was unlike past appointments. Her doctor, who is normally very attentive and proactive with my children’s care, looked at her quickly and proclaimed it was the stomach flu. I was concerned and asked about possible constipation, which she hemmed and hawed about but didn’t offer to take any x-rays of her stomach to out rule it, which again, was odd.
As the day progressed my daughter’s pain got worse; she was crying and thrashing about and that little voice moms have in the back of their heads kept telling me it was something more than “stomach flu”. I took her to the ER in hopes that they would see her in pain and act quickly. During check in I quite bluntly informed them she was in agony and needed to be seen, but after finding her vitals normal, they told us to wait.
We sat down, my daughter crying, laying in my lap asking me why they wouldn’t help her. Knowing my own tears would make things worse, I did my best to comfort her fears, telling her they’d “see her in a few minutes”. As we waited in the room full of people, I saw the police bring in one drunk, then another drunk and then another. All three men were immediately taken back for care while the rest of us waited, my daughter dozing in and out of a painful sleep. Finally I went back to the nurse, literally pleading with her to help my daughter. She sighed and said she would see about getting us to the next level of admission as quickly as she could.
Finally, after another 15 minutes of watching my daughter whimper in her sleep, they called us in. For a brief moment I was relieved until I realized they simply wanted me to talk to another nurse for assessment, asking me the same questions I’d been giving all day to no avail. Twice her phone range and she interrupted the process to answer. Then she said, “Okay, I have everything I need. There are no beds open right now so you’ll just have to wait.”
At this point I broke down in tears and I said, “I am not trying to be unpleasant but my daughter is really suffering. Please, can you help her?” She just shook her head and shrugged… and that’s when I got angry. I asked her if I should go get drunk and wander into traffic – if that might expedite their process a bit. She looked angry and I quite directly told her where she could stick her stethoscope and that I would not make my daughter wait any longer.
I carried her out of the ER and drove across town to the more expensive “out of pocket cost” urgent care where she was seen within moments of us entering the building. By this time she was in hysterics and I was barely keeping it together myself. The Physician’s Assistant quickly assessed her and took x-rays of her stomach. Turns out she was very constipated, or as he explained to her, “Kiddo, you’re just full of poop.” Some brief paperwork with instructions on how to get things “moving” and we were on our way home.
In comparison, back in 2009 I was in the ER with both of my children, for various reasons from a broken elbow to bronchitis. Each time they were quick, efficient, polite, and my children were well cared for. Of course this was before the feds stuck their nose into private industry, particularly healthcare. The changes I’m already seeing locally, even though they say the law isn’t in full swing yet, are a painful reminder of what our lives will look like under Obamacare. That waiting room was filled to the brim with people, and while I try not to make assumptions about people and their choices, if they are well enough to eat McDonalds in the waiting room they probably don’t need emergency care.
Traditional healthcare as we have known it is over if they do not repeal this law. We will be in a world where doctors are hard to find and their care may be lackluster. My experience in the ER was a preview of what is to come and quite frankly, it terrified me. For decades people from all over the world have come to America because our healthcare has always been the best, but this week I saw proof of what socialistic policies can do—which sadly is going to bring the “best” down to “average” (at best). And that is, of course, what Obama wanted all along: the acceptance–nay the championing–of being average and negating American exceptionalism.
If this is what we’re seeing when only portions of the bill have been implemented, I weep for the day when it’s fully in place.