J got my old files!!!
Surpise, I've been screaming for health care reform in America since I was eighteen. I now have my pictures and writing to prove it.
Here's a round of applause for me (see right, get it?). This picture is from Oct. 2002. Note the cardboard sign stating "Bomb Texas, It has Oil too." That's not my sign, but we are still dealing with the same issues today.
This is an essay from Nursing school in 2004.
Good Health Care is Not For Everybody
By Hillary St.Pierre
New York- A dark young man, in his early 30s entered the Emergency room, we recognized him, he had been coming in every few weeks with the same complaints of sinus congestion and earaches in his broken English. However, he could clearly state “no insurance” before we sent him on his way with a prescription he couldn’t afford.
This is a common problem in Emergency rooms across the country that health care workers, especially nurses, face. No life threatening emergency, no immediate treatment is the policy. Nurses are often faced with the task of communicating to the patient the denial of further treatment and sending them home ill. Nurses, however, are a national resource that can combat the discrepancy in care between the insured and the uninsured.
What happened to the man with the ear and sinus infections? He collapsed on the sidewalk and was brought to the ER, this time unconscious and in imminent danger. A CT scan was ordered which identified a large brain tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor failed to excise the mass and save his life. Biopsy post-mortem identified the tumor as benign, and all the health care workers involved were left to grapple with the reality that a CT Scan, which is commonly ordered for those with similar recurrent complaints who have insurance, would have saved his life.
There are 43.6 million uninsured people in our country (That's 2004. There is 46 million today, in 2008), including children. Lack of insurance occurs for a variety of reasons ranging from apathy to the inability to receive Medicaid due to immigration status or financial status that does not qualify for Medicaid but can not afford health care coverage and survive. Thus, the uninsured are not all the stereotypical new immigrant or apathetic welfare recipients, they include independent college students or lower middle class workers. 35.1 million adults and 8.5 million children are the amount of people who receive substandard care in our modern hospitals. These many people could die on our operating tables of a benign tumor.
Nurses are at the forefront, witnessing the discrepancy in care between the insured and uninsured. We are left, often in silence, to grapple with the moral dilemma of sending a patient home without advocating for further testing to diagnose life-threatening diseases associated with symptoms.
Recognizing the borderline negligent treatment of the uninsured is the first step in solving a nationwide health care problem. Nurses have the strength and experience to convey the message that treatment is not sufficient for everybody. Federal Emergency Health Care coverage for not only situations where death may be imminent, but where life threatening disease may be present, is necessary in emergency departments all over America.
Since the late 1960s, federal policy has attempted to increase primary care through the employment of advance practice nurses. Advanced practice nurses can safely substitute 90% of the care for children and 80% of the care for adults at a fraction of the cost. If federal support was expanded to employ advance practice nurses who could identify and diagnose potentially fatal diseases in the emergency care setting under Emergency Health Care Coverage then lives would be saved at a fraction of the cost.
Nurses are an untapped resource in solving the insurance debate. Advanced practice nurses have a comparable level of education to physicians, but are not yet utilized to solve the nation-wide health care crisis. America needs a collaborative system of health care where each expertise is utilized for cost-effective, adequate treatment. By utilizing the expertise of nurses, the discrepancy in care between the insured and uninsured can be minimized and the goal of cost-effective health care for all in emergency or nonemergency life threatening situations can be achieved.
***I never imagined at 21 when I wrote this that five years later I would be in the situation I am today. I'm sure there is a reason I am*****
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."