Daily Reads

Thursday, September 11, 2003

And you *really* want a British style health system?

If you want to read something rather horrifying go here: 90 week wait for a hearing test

I hate to think what would have happened to my two daughters with their ear infections, and hearing loss due to fluid buildup if we had been stuck with a system like this. The probably results would have been permanent hearing loss for both of them, due to the scarring from numerous ruptured ear drums, considerable pain for many years, and serious educational delays. And my youngest probably would never learn to speak properly (she has a developmental delay in her ability to control some of the muscles of the tongue, and at 5 1/2 (and with 3 years of speech therapy) she is still over a year behind where she ought to be in her ability to make various sounds.

I know that these year-plus delays are for non-urgent cases, but I doubt that it's really that much better for anything except an actual true emergency. Chronic infections will probably get you in to see the doctor faster than a general "dullness" in one ear, but there's still going to be a long wait. I recall reading recently (in Lancet?) about a cardiac catheterization and stenting which, due to a 6 month wait from the original imaging study, resulted in the death of the patient. His other arteries had developed severe blockages in the months between the original angiography and the procedure. If the procedure had been performed within a week or two of the study this would not have occured. Our system has its problems, but delays which kill the patients aren't one of them.

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