Saturday, March 7, 2009

Long-term Hospital Stay in Spain

I had gotten a call from the daughter "M" of a fellow teacher, who I was helping while she was going to school, "K" is her apartment mate in this true story.

I got a phone call,"I don't know what to do, "K" is unconscious." "M" went to a neighbor and they called for an ambulance.

The next call from "M" was, "I am in the ambulance and we are on our way to Val D'Hebron Hospital." (In Barcelona) I left Sitges and was at the hospital within an hour and worked my way to the emergency room. There was "M" in utter shock and "K" was unconscious and being prepped to be moved to intensive care........

The doctors and nurses wheeled her up to intensive care and "M" and I waited about two hours before a doctor called us in to an office. She asked if we were relatives. We said no.....Fortunately "M" had grabbed "K's" purse. The doctor told us that "K" had suffered a sodium depletion and had aspirated her vomit and that her lungs had become totally infected......"You have to call "K's" mother immediately and get her here, we do not know if she will make it."

"M" and I phoned the mother from the hospital and explained the emergency, but did not mention the possibility that "K" might not make it. (To emphasize the emergency I told "Ks" mother, "I don't care how much you have to spend on the ticket, you have to get here.") I met "K's" mother at the airport the next morning and took her right to the hospital. "K" was on tubes and unconscious.

"K" was unconscious for at least three weeks and remained in intensive care for five weeks. She was then transferred to the General Hospital for a week when she suffered a pulmonary embulism and was put back into intensive care for a week and back to the general hospital for two more weeks.

When she was released, she was ambulanced back to the hospital several times for therapy.....

I was at the hospital every day of the first five weeks to help the mother and to translate with friends of "K"......

"K" Suffered from a sodium depletion, ARDS (Acute Respiratory Disorder Syndrome), Pulmonary Embulism........The only reason she survived was because she was a cross country runner and ran almost every day, she never smoked, and she never did drugs. She was well educated and is working on her PHD today.

She is a U.S. Citizen and was attending a university and working part time..........Tecnically she should not have been covered by the social security system here, but the University got that adjusted.

She was taking extensive amounts of drugs for a long time (Antibiotics, Anticoagulants etc.) She was monitored for about six months and eventually was released from hospital care with her "Alta". Once, after a trip to the U.S., she discovered a blood clot in her leg and learned that she had to inject herself with an anticoagulant prior to any flight...........

What was her bill at the end of all that ? "0" I believe the most she had to pay for any prescriptions after release from the hospital was 2 euros.........

In seven years of living in Spain, I have paid "0" towards my healthcare......I can join the social security system for 48 euros a month , approximately $68. However, even if I am not in the system and in an emergency, they will take care of me and worry about billing later......

Doctors are paid 42,000 to 46,000 Euros, about $54,000 to $59,000 a year (And probably work 20 hours a week for Spain) ........I have a friend who is a doctor. Since he is a capitalist, he has his own private clinic in two separate cities and makes about $125,000 a year total.

If I were President: I would make all licensed doctors participate in an annual national licensing program that they must serve 20 hours of service at a Nationalized Hospital......They would all receive $100,000 for that service.

What hospitals should be nationalized? County and state hospitals and private hospitals that are going out of business or not making it........Remember, Religious Hospitals get wicked tax breaks that private hospitals can not compete with.

Unless the United States takes the burden of healthcare off the American Businesses, Governmental bodies, school districts, wages can not be competitive with the rest of the world?

President Obama claims that, "We must impove the system we have." I disagree you must remove the system we have and build a new one......Yes, "We can rebuild America without greediness and corruption!"

Herbert Chersonsky

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