Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Father...

Ok. As many of you who are personal friends of mine know, I don't really get along well with my my father and there's not much love lost between us.

HOWever, there's something that's been going on with his health that finally came down to an operation yesterday that should have been performed nearly five months ago.

A bit of background: On the second day of Passover (April 22, 2008) my father was rushed to the hospital with abdominal pain. He'd been having them for several and finally couldn't take the pain any longer and had to go to the ER. He was taken to UMC (University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where my parents live) and admitted shortly thereafter. They took many CT scans of him, attempted several Colonoscopies, and discussed with him the possibility of exploratory surgery to remove a mass he might have had.

All talk of surgery ended abruptly when, apparently, the insurance company wouldn't approve it. He was sent home. A day or two later, he went back in terrible pain. He was sent, over the following weeks, to three different hospitals. None would even consider doing the surgery even though several doctors indicated he might have a blockage in his stomach or intestines.

Again, he was sent home. At this point, he couldn't even get up from his own bed to go to the bathroom. A nurse came once a day, and the rest of the time, my mom was on her own to clean up the, um, "mess," if you get my drift. He was home for several weeks. During that time he fought with the insurance company and his GP to get the surgery done. The insurance company finally allowed him to see an insurance company-approved surgeon. The surgeon requested all the scans done on my done during the previous months. When my dad finally got taken in for a consult, which was a huge hassle as well since he couldn't walk and had to be helped, the surgeon simply dismissed my dad out of hand and said he saw, despite recommendations in the notations on the scans by the radiologists, NO REASON to perform the surgery. He dismissed my my dad and sent him back home to wallow in some more pain.

Well, the pain finally became more than he could bear about a week and a half ago. He had himself transported to yet a fourth hospital, Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, where after a minimal number of scans (I think they performed two CT Scans on him and an ultrasound), they found a mass, didn't hide the fact they'd found a mass, and finally operated on my dad yesterday.

The operation took about three hours. Now, again, as many of you who know me personally know, my dad isn't exactly the healthiest of people. Until this bout started five months ago, he weighed close to five hundred pounds (which is why his knees blew out, coincidental to his stomach issues, which is why he hasn't been able to put any weight on his knees). He has diabetes, cellulitis, pulmonary issues, heart problems, and a whole slew of other crap caused by his weight (which is why I'm doing everything I can to get qualified for bariatric surgery - I DON'T want to go through all that!). There were fears he might not come out of the surgery, but the surgeons decided to go through with as it was less dangerous than allowing him to continue as he was (by the way, my dad lost about 150 pounds in the last five months - he hasn't been able to eat and been barely able to drink).

Well, they removed a rather large mass. IT WAS CANCEROUS. Thank God it had NOT metastasized. They were able to remove the entire thing.

This is where our health system has taken us. We now have doctors who have taken the Hippocratic Oath, which does have relevance to how one practices medicine today: "Never to do deliberate harm to anyone for anyone else's interest."

Instead of following this rule, the doctors listened to the insurance company because they feared not getting paid.

I'm going to be working with my dad and a malpractice attorney in Las Vegas to pursue a lawsuit against the insurance company, the GP (who did NOT advocate for my dad as he should have and instead capitulated to the insurance company), UMC, one or BOTH of the other hospitals to which he was shuffled before being sent home, sicker than he had been when he arrived (what the fuck kind of a hospital sends home a sick person, much less someone who was even more ill than when he arrived?!), the surgeon who apparently followed the insurance company's instructions to NOT recommend surgery because he "saw no reason for it," and against the individual surgeons at these hospitals who refused to operate, apparently because the insurance company wouldn't approve the surgery.

I'm sorry. This is ridiculous! I just understand how the government has allowed insurance companies to become the nation's doctors, dictating treatment and not allowing real medical care to take place! How did the government allow these companies to become so incredibly powerful that a sick person can no longer be treated?!

If anyone out there knows of a good malpractice attorney in the Las Vegas area, please let me know. My father has no money, but I'm pretty confident, once this is over, the fee the attorney receives out of either an out-of-court settlement or after the trial (should it go to trial) will be quite substantial. Further, should the attorney work pro bono, the court will probably award a fee to be paid by the doctors, hospitals, and insurance company.

So, what the insurance company basically did here was NOT approve a surgery in the interests of saving money, hoping, quite likely, the patient, in this case my father, would just die and problem would go away.

The only problem with that theory is my father is too damned ornery to die like that.

And now, God willing, they're going to pay through the nose...

And thank God for this last hospital decided to ignore the insurance company and go ahead and take out a CANCEROUS MASS FROM HIS STOMACH.

And this is the result of allowing the Republicans to remain in power for far too long, ignoring the basic needs of the American people in favor the greed displayed by big business.

And this is why we have to work VERY hard to NOT allow another Republican government to keep the power and keep things as they are.

1 comment:

Selena said...

Wow! I am so glad they were able to get it all. What a nightmare for him and your mom....good luck with everything. Let your dad know we are thinking about him.