David E. Williams writes on the Health Care Business Blog:
A friend in Canada felt so sick that when she went to the hospital on Thursday she told the staff that she felt even worse than she had immediately after her two surgeries. They sent her home with instructions to follow up next Tuesday (tomorrow). By Saturday she felt even worse. Ambulance dispatch told a friend who called to expect an ambulance in 3 hours –the timing based on the perceived severity of the symptoms. The friend took her to the ER instead, where she was promptly taken into the ICU. But it was too late; she is in a coma and will almost certainly succumb to pneumococcal meningitis.
She died because by Canadian standards, she was not sick enough to deserve a place in the hospital.
And lots of people here in the U.S. want us to adopt the Canadian system.
By the way, they are supposed to transplant her kidneys and liver. Someone is going to get some sort of brownie points for acquiring those organs. Would I be too cynical if I said the incentives to save a patient’s life are reduced when one benefits from that patient’s death?