I know I’ve waxed poetic about the status of healthcare here in the United States, however I was reminded of how lucky we are here in this country. As many problems as we have, what I heard today was indicative of the differences in other countries.
I was having breakfast with a friend, and she was telling me about some experiences that family and friends had in Canada. Imagine having a TIA, known as a mini-stroke, and being sent home from the hospital with orders to follow up with your general physician. No aspirin or blood thinning medication or consult to neurologists, just “follow up with your doctor in a few weeks.” My hospital would scan your head and run extensive testing, if not sending you immediately to have a procedure to clear up the blockage. Then you’d be an inpatient on a stroke floor. Hell, I’m on prophylactic medication twice a day to help prevent a problem.
My friend’s mom also went into the emergency room (in Canada) for rapid atrial fibrillation. This means that the upper chambers of her heart were not beating properly, which can cause clots to form in the heart. The heart also works harder and doesn’t push the blood around as it should. Her mother was discharged on one medication without any further admission or cardiology consults. Instead, there were orders to follow up with a cardiologist in a few months. My hospital would admit someone with rapid a-fib to at least a telemetry unit to have their heart monitored, if not right into the intensive care unit on cardiac drips (IV medications). Instead, my friend’s mom was shown the door.
Surgeries in Canada evidently take months to schedule, and simply seeing a physician often means lengthy waits which lead to poorer outcomes. I know that we have patients in the U.S. who refuse to come in until things are literally falling off of them, because they don’t want to halt their lives or admit that they haven’t watched their health. It’s sad, isn’t it? While I’m sitting here waiting for my insurance to clear all of the tests and procedures that I need, I know it will happen in a few weeks if not days. I was shocked to hear what I was hearing.
Waiting is hard, especially when you don’t feel well or want to return to your lifestyle. We need to have a look to see what is really going on in our healthcare systems. Our people in this world are becoming more and more unhealthy, even if they try to change their eating habits or ramp up the exercise. There are limited physicians and even less nurse practitioners able to practice independently. Our world is consumed with charting and such a fear of legal ramifications that we can’t treat people, and we sure don’t have much time to give them preventative education!
I’d like to hear from anyone in countries outside of the United States, and even those of you in the U.S. What have you seen that you believe hampers the people’s wellness? What have you seen that has impressed you about your healthcare system?