Re "Giving thanks, backing change," Column, Nov. 23
I recently experienced a medical emergency similar to the infection in David Lazarus' hand, but I came to a different conclusion about how insurance affects our healthcare decisions.
I contracted a serious foot infection and ended up in the emergency room. Like Lazarus, I received an intravenous drip of a strong antibiotic. But unlike him, I found that using my own money does encourage savings.
When a doctor recommended that I stay overnight for monitoring, I knew it would more than double my hospital bill. I refused and went home, believing that the antibiotic drip and the prescribed antibiotic pills would be enough. My hospital bill turned out to be half of what it could have been.
One of the major problems with healthcare in America is that our insurance system encourages unnecessary treatment, and no society can afford to devote unlimited resources to any area.
As a registered nurse for almost 37 years, I was thrilled to read Lazarus' column. I am glad he had a good medical outcome, and I am delighted he recognized the importance of the role of nursing. As Lazarus noted, nurses are the choreographers of the patient experience.
The recent recession has made it seem as if the nursing shortage is over. In fact, the shortage will worsen over the next decade. Lazarus has experienced personally how important having a nurse as your advocate is for patients, which makes a severe shortage even more devastating for patients needing care.
Best of luck to Lazarus with his hand.
Susan Odegaard Turner
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