Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What happens when folks have no skin in the game

This was posted by DocRocket, an Emergency Room physician in Texas.  DocRocket is a frequent contributor at 24hourcampfire.  This post must have touched a nerve.  It quickly generated nine pages of comments in less than ten hours.  This is reposted with his permission:

Well, yesterday I had a surfeit of empty-headed young females seeking medical attention, and at the end of the day I was literally questioning how our species can be expected to survive.

First idiot was a 22-year-old gal with a blister on her hand from being "forced" to mop the floor at work. Wanted to make a Workers Compensation claim, the whole nine yards. Now, we're not talking about much of a blister at all... less than 2cm across, not infected, but it hurt so bad she couldn't use her hand for Anything. I observed that she had clearly spent a lot of time and effort on her makeup that morning, and asked if she had done it all with her left hand? At which she goggled at me, offended as if I'd told her she was stupid. Which I guess I had done, when I think about it...

Second idiot was a 21-year-old gal who got stung by a scorpion on her foot. She was wailing and crying and carrying on, afraid she was going to die. I couldn't even see a sting site on her foot... just a little redness. I told her she would live, against terrible odds, and thanked her for causing a $400 ER charge against the Texas Medicaid account.

Third idiot was a 23-year-old mother of an infant child who was "sick". Mother was almost panicked by this. Child had coughed several hours earlier, but had been fine since. That was it. That was why she was in the ER. One cough from an 18-month-old child.

I have long held the opinion that if idiot young females were removed from the population, America would be a much healthier place, and our medical care system would be in a damned sight better financial position. I wish the above 3 cases were exceptional, but they aren't. These idiot young females flood our ER's and clinics with their hair and makeup flawlessly in place, their outfits perfectly matching, and their presenting complaints so trivial as to be ridiculous. "I just want to get it checked out," they explain, betraying the fact that they KNOW their complaint is ridiculous and the cost they are incurring to the system is unjustifiable.

Consider this: the number one ER complaint in America is abdominal pain. Guess which sex accounts for better than 75% of ER visits for abdominal pain? Yep, females, most under 35. Guess what the most common cause of abdominal pain in ER's is? Constipation. Our health care system is spending billions of dollars annually to address the fact that most women ( and most people in general ERJ comment) have lousy dietary and bowel habits (and do not engage in regular exercise, moving make you move. ERJ comment), and don't have a clue about how to deal with their own schitt.

I could go on. But we have an erroneous assumption in health care in America that the customer is always right. And the customer rarely IS right, when it comes to emergency care. And it's bankrupting our health care system.

God only knows what will happen to these idiot young females when the free medical care gravy train grinds to a halt. I expect most of them will die of infected broken fingernails, curling iron burns, and the like.

And all I can think at the end of the day is, "Thank God I'm not young enough to consider these pneumoceph's attractive, let alone to be married to one." Seriously.

One comment that stood out was this one written by 260Remguy:

Many years ago, I was involved in healthcare management. Both of the major medical centers that I worked for had more than their share of medicaid patients. Since the care was "free", it held no value for many of these people and they missed appointments nearly 40% of the time at our urban clinics. As such, we typically over-booked the primary care clinics by 15%, so that a physician was scheduled to see 29 patients during a seven hour clinic, assuming that he would actually see 25.

Interestingly, rural medicaid patients were much more likely to make their appointments or, if they couldn't, they would usually call, apologize for disrupting our schedule, and reschedule.

Entitlement is a dangerous slippery slope. While a little is good, the line between a little and too much isn't well defined and entitlement is highly addictive.
I read this with some chagrin.  Belladonna is acting a little bit spacy just before she goes off to college.  Mrs ERJ assures me that it is a common phenomena.  Folks regress when stressed.  Bella is retreating to her "comfort zone" and Mrs ERJ assures me that she will bounce out of it just fine.

Time will tell.


  1. One hopes... And yes, there are WAY too many 'stupid' calls for transport and ER services... My daughter is a paramedic, and some of her stories... sigh

  2. One hopes... And yes, there are WAY too many 'stupid' calls for transport and ER services... My daughter is a paramedic, and some of her stories... sigh

  3. One of the reasons that I got out of EMS work in Michigan (and that included a stint with Lansing Mercy in Grand Ledge/Eaton Rapids) was the number of astoundingly stupid non-emergency calls for rides that we got at all hours of the day and night. I got to where I could say: "You called 911 for THAT?!" in my sleep and in English, Spanish and Ebonics, but it never made a difference. Stupid people are stupid their whole lives and one little lecture on the appropriateness of calling an ambulance for a tummy ache or a stubbed toe isn't going to change that, especially when they don't get the bill themselves ("I gots Medicaid!") and they all beleive that if they go in by ambulance, the get seem faster, regardless of the trivial nature of their visit. If the old guy down the street dies of a heart attack five minutes later because one of these cretins just took the ambulance for a sprained ankle, that's just the old guy's tough luck.

  4. Thank you for commenting. It is always good to hear from a fellow German Shepherd owner.

    One solution would be if Emergency Room Doctors prescribed that the "patient" solve their problem (constipation, stress, anxiety, substance abuse, gas pains, cramping muscles, back pain....) by walking home.

    Many of these maladies are exacerbated by a lack of gentle, rhythmic a walk of 3-to-10 miles. Give them a bottle of drinking water and tell them to walk home.

    Wanna bet they stop calling 9-1-1 when they do not get a free cab ride home?