The View From Your Sickbed

An email from a reader who is opposed to the status quo in American healthcare:

A couple years ago I was lying in bed trying to sleep off a fever. I woke up to the phone, and let it go to the answering machine because I wasn’t getting up for anything at that moment. It was my fiancee and while I couldn’t make out any words from the other room, I could recognize from the tone that she needed something. Annoyed, I finally got out of bed and replayed the message and was simply horrified.

She had been in a car accident. She said she needed me to pick her up take her to the hospital. She was too afraid to take the ambulance that was already there. She was terrified that it would bankrupt her.

This might sound crazy to some people, but this was not an unreasonable expectation on her part. It would would not be the first time in her life that a car accident would do this to her. It’s hard to express the shock that went with hearing this. Here was a woman who in her first car accident had broken her back, yet what was nearly bringing her to tears this time was the fear that she would once again be losing years to fighting for her financial life. She wasn’t even 30 years old then. The rest of the story is me picking her up from the street corner, taking her to the hospital, spending the hours with her in the waiting room. She ended up having some minor burns (from the airbag) and bruising and needing a leg brace for a couple weeks, but things were manageable this time for the most part, including the bills. But the point remains, and there's no denying it; If people in this country can actually be afraid of emergency services, there is something very wrong in our system.

The Dish is eager to post emails detailing the flaws in the current system from your own experiences. Please put the word "sickbed" in the title.