Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The real ER

The real Cook County hospital sounds even worse than the one on "ER," based on Dr. David Ansell's interview on Fresh Air:
Health care at County was very different from care at private or university hospitals. When Ansell first started treating patients, County had no air conditioning, poor sanitation and limited patient privacy. "The beds were lined up one after another, separated by curtains, but there was really no privacy," he says. "Patients would roll in and they'd be lined up around the walls of this one room, and the middle was lined with stretchers and wheelchairs. You were forced to take histories and examine patients under these conditions."
As usual, the audio version of the interview is better, and Ansell has some interesting things to say about the inequality of health care in the U.S. and attempts at reform. From the text version:
"The only fair way to do this is where people have a card that gets them in, where that card is accepted widely and broadly by everyone, and [giving people] choice," he says. "So you could go anywhere you want, you get the care you want, and choose your own doctors — and that would be some sort of universal plan — Medicare for all, single-payer. We need a system that really gives patients — poor or rich — adequate care."

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