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Mon Oct 15, 2012, 02:10 PM

A Bit of Real World for Mitt Romney: Emergency Rooms are Where the Uninsured Go to DIE [View all]



It took me a while to get over my initial disbelief and outrage.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” (Romney) said. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.”


After thirty years in the medical profession, I have seen every horror story you can imagine. A 50 year old woman without insurance who knew that the tumor in her breast was most likely cancer, but, uninsured, working in a service sector job with a family to support, she had no way to get a biopsy or treatment. She finally came to the emergency room by ambulance after her tumor had spread to her heart, causing it to fail. She was dying.

A young diabetic, in his 20s, who had managed his condition as best he could with insulin (which you can buy over the counter) but without medical care. By the time he suspected that something was wrong, his kidneys had shut down completely and he had a bacterial infection in his blood. He never made it to dialysis. The trip by ambulance to the emergency room his final journey.

Sometimes they don’t make it as far as the hospital. An ambulance ride costs over $1000, and the ambulance company will collect from you, no matter what it takes. Sometimes, the man—the father, the breadwinner--- sits at home on the couch and tells himself that the chest pain is indigestion---until his heart stops and his school aged child calls 911, and he is pronounced dead in his own apartment.

Emergency rooms are required to treat all comers, whether they are insured or not. This is NOT because our nation wants to provide them with health care. Those who live in Ivory Towers, like Romney do not want to see those without insurance die on the street, where the sight of man in his death agony might disturb their kids or take away their enjoyment in their double latte.

If you want to teach your kids compassion, have them volunteer in an emergency room. It will open their eyes and probably their hearts, so that they don't grow up to be like Romney, a man who might as well be from another planet for all the understanding he has of life in middle class America.




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