A patient enters the emergency room in obvious distress. He tries to speak but the words are gibberish. The triage nurses are attempting to get the patient’s information from distraught family members. They ask:
1. Patient’s name.
2. Birth date.
4. Type of insurance. (The patient has no medical insurance).
The right side of his body is shaking uncontrollably and he has lost the muscle control to sit upright. His eyes are vacant, he is not aware of his surroundings. He does not respond when the nurses ask him questions, he does not feel the stick when the intravenous catheter is inserted into his hand or the pinch when a potential vein is finally located to draw blood. He doesn’t feel the heart and blood pressure monitors being applied to his body.
The doctor enters and does a rudimentary exam not really seeing the man. He orders a medicine inserted into the IV. He tells the nurse to call radiology for a C.A.T. scan, neck and spinal x-ray and he leaves the room. As the patient is being wheeled to x-ray a nurse stops the gurney, injects another medicine into the IV and places a tablet into the patient’s mouth. He is not conscious of being placed onto the table of the C-scan or being positioned for the spinal x-ray. As the technician is attempting to put him into sitting position for another x-ray, the patient becomes aware of his surroundings and asks where he is. He is coherent for the first time in almost 4 hours. The tests are completed and he is returned to the emergency room. After several minutes, the doctor again enters the room.
The patient asks, “What happened to me ?”
“We don’t know”, is the doctor’s reply.
“Will it happen again ?”
“We don’t know, but if you start to experience dizziness or nausea or any loss of motor control come back in immediately. Since you have no insurance I will release you in about an hour.”
“If I have to come back will I be charged again or…”
“Of course, it may be a different emergency.”
Within two days the patient receives a bill for $ 4500.00
A week or so later, a hard rain begins to fall. The doctor returns home to discover that his roof is leaking. His carpets and furniture are being destroyed. He finds the number of a roof repairman and phones him. His voice frantic. « Would the repairman come immediately. It is an emergency ! » The repairman and his assistant arrive within the hour and climb onto the roof in the pouring rain. The repairman looks around to locate the problem. He tells his assistant to put some tar in the valley of the roof and as soon as the assistant is finished the rain suddenly stops.
When they come down from the roof the doctor asks : « Did you fix it ? »
“The roof is not leaking, is it ?”
“No, but the rain has stopped. Will it leak again ? »
“I don’t know. But if it does, you call me,” the roofer says and he hands the doctor a bill for $ 4500.00
“If I have to call you again to fix the roof will it be free of charge or will I have to pay you again ?” the doctor asks.
“I will have to charge you”, the roofer replies.
“If it leaks again it is because you didn’t fix it. Why should I have to pay you for something you did not repair ?”
“But doc, you have to understand, if it leaks again it is not because I didn’t fix this leak, it is because you have a new leak. Now will you be paying by cash or check ?”
NB Posez le curseur sur les mots et expressions soulignés noir pour obtenir la traduction française.