Friday, June 20, 2008

My tax dollars hard at work

Tonight I took care of this patient who has been in my hospital since April 9th. He originally came in with a medication reaction and was intubated. He was trached and then de-trached. His kidneys failed at some point so he is on dialysis now. He was in ICU for quite awhile and then transferred out to a regular medical floor. Complains of chest pain for a few days and then has some questionable EKG changes so buys himself a bed in the CCU. Has a negative MIBI stress so I transfer him back to the medical floor.

Are you wondering where my tax dollars come into play?

He is an illegal alien from a S. American country. So, he doesn't work and has no insurance. No outpatient dialysis center will take him due to no insurance so he has to remain hospitalized. Apparently we cannot discharge a patient who has no outpatient dialysis set up. So instead he drains tax money by being hospitalized for 2 1/2 months only so he can have dialysis 3x a week.

I have no issues with someone not having insurance. I recently took care of another young man in his 30's who underwent 2 angioplasties in about a week's time (long story involving med noncompliance) who had no insurance. He also racked up a big bill but at least he works. He talked with a social worker and is applying for state insurance etc and will work out a payment plan with the hospital. He'll be paying for a long time but at least he'll pay.

We will see nothing, not one penny from this guy. I also have no problem with the fact that he got some medical care. Sure, we are the melting pot etc but he's getting care at tax payer expense (and his bill must be in the millions at this point) when other American citizens are scared to come to the doctor at all due to the cost of their copays. It's a sad situation that our healthcare system is in.

Oh and the other thing I wonder about.............why did we only stress test him and not just do a cardiac cath. I mean come on....aren't stress tests more inaccurate than caths? We already have the million dollar work up so why not just do it right??????

And for those of you that are shaking your heads at me right now thinking I'm horrible to be saying all this I have something for you to think about. If you or I moved to his S. American country and lived there illegally and didn't work or worked under the table and got this sick............would that country take care of us like we have taken care of this man? I seriously doubt it.


Ellen said...

Greetings I totally understand. In the "old days" nurses and Doctors were not interested in who paid what. The patients were people not customers.

Anonymous said...


I just love your posts. So much of what you say, how you handle situations, how you relate to patients, etc. reminds me of myself back in my "glory days" of CCU/ICU and ER nursing. I worked for almost 12 years doing what you are doing and had all sorts of happy, sad, frustrating, scary, and amazing experiences. I am now staying home with my kids, but am entertaining the idea of going back to nursing soon, perhaps not so critical this time, though reading your site reminds me why I like those areas the best. Anyway, I will bookmark your blog. Thanks for sharing....


MaLi said...

why do you say.."he's an illegal immigrant..SO..he doesnt work" where do you get that information from? Most illegal immigrants come here (America) to do precisly! Maybe that particular person doesn't and if so then say he doesnt, but to state or imply that if you are an illegal immigrant then you don't work is really incredibly ignorant and just mean.

Tracey said...

To Mali:
I didn't intend to imply that. This is a good example of when your words can be misinterpreted when read rather than listened to. I had NOT said "he is an illegal immigrant so he does not work." I had said "He is an illegal immigrant. So, he does not work and has no insurance." The 'so' implies 'here is the rest of the story' (or at least I had intended for it to'. If I offended you I had no intention of doing so.

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