Imagine Being 7 Months Pregnant, You Get Heart Palpitations And A Series Of Doctors Refuse To See You
By Habib Wicks, PEERtrainer Co-Founder
As many of you know I have been training for a marathon. I run several times a week with a group of guys who have run marathons before. As far as "PEERtrainers" go, these guys are the best. They schedule runs, motivate me to run on days that I don't want to. Many of them are doctors as well, so I have to endure lots of complaining about some of the inside baseball of being a doctor.
Usually I focus on my own breathing and let them talk and talk so I can have a better chance of keeping up with them. Yesterday though I heard a very interesting story which I felt compelled to write about. One of the guys is a cardiologist, and he was particularly upset about something that happened in the last couple days.
There was a woman in the hospital, somewhere in the system that was 7 months pregnant and having heart palpitations. I was told by my friend that a whole series of doctors would not see her, I think 4 or 5. My friends assistant called him and asked if he would. He agreed to, and explained that the other doctors did not want to touch the case with a ten foot pole out of fear of being sued.
He gets into the room to see her and she just starts crying and crying. She is glad to see my friend. But can you imagine what is going through this woman's head? You are way pregnant, your heart starts acting funny, you are probably freaking out. And a series of doctors refuse to see you?
Bad stuff can and does happen to women during pregnancy. Anyway, there is this huge healthcare debate about things that might or might not happen in the future depending on what happens. And in this debate, the words "tort reform" have come up. It is something that Republicans always talk about, and that some Democrats are starting to talk about. As I understand it, "tort reform" means reworking the issue of suing doctors when something goes wrong.
It is one of those buzzwords that we hear get tossed around, and it sounds like an abstraction. Which is why I wanted to blog about this story. I am not a lawyer or a doctor, but it seems that when doctors refuse to see patients out of fear of being sued, something needs to be worked on. And I have NO IDEA how one would structure "tort reform." Obviously if someone screws up, there needs to be recourse.
Anyway, I thought this might be interesting contribution to the healthcare debate. Hopefully not too controversial. This is one of those things that everyone can relate to and understand.