A friend of a friend recently had a hip replacement and during her recovery began to feel week and enervated. She was on coumadin to prevent blood clots, iron and hydrocodone.
She became alarmed with the fatigue and called her surgeon and promptly was referred to the ER.
It turned out her problem was a early urinary infection and moderate dehydration.
Medicynical note: Our non-system is blithely unaware of cost. This patient’s issue did not require an ER visit. It was a simple outpatient problem.
But her surgeon was not prepared to care for his surgical complication even if it was minor and easily handled (and during office hours). Instead the patient and her insurer will bear the expense of a new patient evaluation in an ER and whatever expenses that were incurred. Remember ER care is the most expensive and least efficient in our non-system, particularly for non-emergencies.
This is good ole American ingenuity at work. Efficiency? Value? Not our department. Everyone makes money.
Maybe this will change with Accountable Care Organizations?