Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Death by Borders

Discharge instructions:

Patient advised to seek out assistance from the consulate of their country of origin.

Patient should return to their country of origin to obtain treatment of their liver mass.

Patient to avoid alcohol and illicit drugs.

We made up a taxi voucher and arranged to get them to a shelter before it closed for the evening. They could get their prescriptions filled there and they'd store the pain meds so the patient wouldn't get mugged for them.

As warmly as I could (through the in-house interpreter) I told the patient that if they got sick I'd like them to come back to our hospital.

I wish you could all have seen the look on the patient's face when they left. I wish you also could have seen the look on the face of the attending doctor. She didn't want it to be this way. Nobody does.

Well... almost nobody.


dbackdad said...

You got that right.

wunelle said...

Great story.

And I love the stories from systems that (I presume) work intrinsically better than ours. I've read several accounts of American women having their babies in France and finding the process wonderfully simple and accommodating.

Eli Blake said...

Remember your post on how many Canadians came here for medical care, vs. how many Americans had purchased prescriptions from Canadian sources? The difference was mind-boggling.

word verification: inegal

Does that bring to mind, 'ineligible,' 'illegal' or 'in-egalitarian' ?

Sort of fits the post though.