Poor people’s health care


I remember when this happened. Joaquin Rivera, musician and activist, a wonderful, hard-working man who was loved and respected by his community, died of a heart attack in the ER waiting room and his lifeless body was then was robbed by junkies.

This, by the way, is the same hospital to which I was taken by the city’s EMTs when I had pancreatitis. The same lousy hospital that first diagnosed me, then told me it was a mistake, there was nothing wrong. How did I get the positive test? I asked the doctor. I don’t know, he said, shrugging.

Now I know better. When the gallstone was stuck, my pancreas were inflamed. When it finally passed, the test was negative. This doctor either did know this, or should have known this. I think he pretended not to know, because it was a medical emergency and the hospital did not want to be on the hook for the cost of my gall bladder surgery.

Let me tell you the difference between a crappy Tier 1 hospital and the reassuring efficiency of a Tier 3 facility: Joaquin Rivera wouldn’t have still been in the waiting room. When a patient presents with cardiac symptoms at a Tier 3 hospital, the triage nurse sees you immediately and you’re a priority. Because, you know, death.

This all came back to me the other night, when I was helping my son sign up for Obamacare. Once again, I was hit with a wave of disgust at how the cheapest plan restricted poor people to the worst hospitals in the city.

And what I wanted to say is, that while I’m happy with the plan I got (and my kid got), the fight doesn’t end here. Bad care is bad care, and injustice anywhere is still injustice everywhere.

H/t Attorney Steve Duckett.

2 thoughts on “Poor people’s health care

  1. Disgust is too kind a word. I get incensed over this type of shit. Especially when you see how such medical events are handled in the civilized world. You know pretty much everybody except the US and Somalia.

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