This is going to be a quick rant. It's also going to be very honest. I may curse, so I'll ask in advance for you to forgive me for being very, very blunt. As you know by now, my dad has been in the hospital the past 16 days. He was admitted due to sepsis from a toe ulcer he ignored. Here's the thing ... it took them SIXTEEN days before they decided to amputate the toe the infection was originating from. Why? The answer is plain and simple: Because he had insurance and the hospital made far more money this way than they would have if they had amputated the toe two days after he was admitted. That may sound extreme, but it's true.
Why did they wait? They insisted the toe, which looked (and smelled) horrible, wasn't the sole origin of the infection. They did an Indium scan to find infection in other parts of the body. Guess what? The only place the Indium scan found infection was in the toe. In spite of that, they performed TEN other procedures to check for additional infection. TEN. I may not be the brightest bulb on the board, but even I know that if a toe has an ulcer that tested positive for MRSA and that's causing so much sepsis (infection in the blood stream) that both hemispheres of the brain are highly inflamed, you cut the damn thing off. Instead, Dad was subjected to 3-4 procedures per day. Meanwhile, the infection continued to proliferate in his blood stream and could have lodged in his heart. We can only praise God that didn't happen.
There's no nice way of putting this ... if my Dad didn't have insurance, they would have amputated his toe the second day he was here and discharged him. Instead, they milked the system for sixteen days and subjected Dad to untold horrors. (See my previous post, When Patients Become Body Parts Instead of Humans.) I'm not saying people are better off without insurance. We all know that's absurd. What I am saying is that people without insurance receive much more efficient medical care. Again, I know people die as a result of not having insurance, but there has to be a happy medium. The current for-profit medical system is so overblown that many tests are ordered simply because insurance will pay for it and not because they add value or provide information that's needed to customize the care plan.
My Dad spent 16 days being delirious and having severe cognitive issues due to the swelling in his brain from the sepsis. His mental cognition returned to 100% a mere six hours after surgery. As I said before, if they had immediately amputated the toe, he'd probably be home by now doing outpatient rehab. Since they waited sixteen days, he will now have to spend time in an in-patient rehab facility. The physical therapist said we can expect one week of rehab for every day spent immobile in bed. Although I'm not sure I agree with that estimate, I do know Dad has lost significant muscle strength and will need extensive PT to get back on his feet. In my opinion, that is the hospital's fault, not the infection's fault.