This is obviously a hot topic these days. The reality of our system is hard to grasp unless you are in need of health care and then that reality takes on a surrealistic edge. I was ill with what turned out to be sinusitis last week. It was as bad as I have ever had making it impossible to sleep or focus. The easiest thing to do was to lie in bed, not move my head too much and keep my eyes closed with the hope that I would sleep. On the third day of doing this, I called my doctor–this was a Saturday so I reached the doctor on call who told me that it might be meningitis and that I should go to an emergency rooom.
I have been in emergency rooms around the world, from Australia to Indonesia, India and London, Kansas City to Mt. Kisco, NY. Almost all of them have been staffed well and run smoothly. Last Saturday, I was at Mt. Sinai and the experience for a ten minute diagnosis lasted from 10:45 to 6:30. The emergency room was certainly busy and I felt terrible that for sinusitis I was taking up room in place of people that were far more ill. Why did my experience last so long?
The only thing I can think of is that doctors are taught not to rush. This is probably an excellent thing, but I have to say that the procedures surrounding the diagnosis could be a great deal faster. An efficiency expert could have had a field day at Mt. Sinai last Saturday identifying redundancy and other wasteful procedures. I was not impressed but extremely thankful for the care. It is clear to me that the health care debate needs debating on a great many levels as well. Would that the Republicans would join into it.