Monday, July 13, 2009

Our healthcare system

With the recent debate about health care I thought I'd share a few of my experiences.

Health care in America vs health care in Canada:
We recently were in Canada on vacation when Jimmy started having facial seizures and paralysis on the right side of his face. He had three incidences in one day. His brain tumor was on the left side so this could be a tumor re-occurrence. We called his oncologist and we were told to take him to the E. R. and get an MRI. We went to the E.R. at B. C. Children's Hospital. (the first hospital E.R we went to told us that they do not treat children.) There were only a few other patients there so we received prompt medical attention. After 2 hours of giving 4 different people his complete medical history we finally saw a the doctor, It turns out they had to wait for the Dr. to get there, because of a shortage of Dr. shortae in Canada there was no Dr. in the E.R.! All the doctor did was tell us that they could not do an MRI for us because "We only do those when they are medically necessary" Hmmmm..... Just what do they consider "medically necessary"? and it would take at least 2 weeks to get an "emergency CT scan" even though we told them Jimmy shouldn't have CT scans because of all the radiation he has received and brain tumors do not show up very well on CT scans. The doctor advised us to go back to the US to get a scan. We arrived home at about 7:30 pm and received an MRI the next day. (it was "stable" no tumors.)

We were told it cost $896.00 just to see Jimmy at the Canadian E.R. and anything they do there was an additional charge. Haven't received the bill yet. Hopefully our insurance will cover most of it. That is about the total of the MRI cost in the US. I like the medical attention we received in the US better than in Canada.

Jimmy at BC Children's Hospital Canada. We got to see first hand the way socialized medicine is practiced with our neighbors up north. Yes, those are diapers on his hands. If they were going to draw blood, they wanted warm (swollen) veins. They didn't have heat packs like they use in our hospital here.

About cost:
After Jimmy's third brain surgery we received a bill from Jimmy's neurosurgeon for an office visit and his surgery: the office visit was billed at $150.00 and we were with the doctor for about an hour, the surgery was billed at $8,000.00 per hour! Lets see... that is $7,850.00 per hour more for surgery than an office visit. Not that I am complaining! This is a top neurosurgeon that saved Jimmy's life and he was well worth the money. I would gladly pay $16,000. 00 for his surgery, however the insurance company paid it. When we saw the neurosurgeon a week later I jokingly said I knew how he made his money and mentioned the bill. He told me he actually makes the same amount of money rather he is in surgery or in the office, the difference in cost was malpractice insurance. Let's see that one 2 hour surgery cost about $15,700.00 for malpractice insurance, that cost was passed on to all of us insurance policy holders through higher rates. Yes, I really do think there needs to be some reform in our malpractice lawsuits.