Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Care Stories: Washington, DC

Megan shares her health care horror story in the nation's capital. Do NOT share with your children. They will have nightmares.

In 1993 I worked for a small lobbying firm that struggled to provide health insurance for its small staff. When the last of the single partners married and went on her husband's insurance, the staffers depending on insurance provided by the firm were enrolled in an HMO.

That year, my doctor found a lump in my breast and I was encouraged to get surgery as soon as possible. Although I lived and worked in Northwest DC, I my HMO sent me to a hospital on the edge of Northeast DC.

After the surgery, I was very sick from the anesthesia. The surgery was designated as an outpatient procedure. Although I was vomiting, the nurse insisted that I had to leave the hospital.

A friend who was supposed to pick me up was late. The nurse called her number a few times but got no answer. She was agitated and repeatedly told me I could not stay because the insurance only covered an outpatient procedure.

Finally, the nurse put a bucket in my lap and wheeled me outside to the curb. I was too sick to protest.

When my friend drove up and saw me sitting in a wheel chair with a bucket of vomit in my lap she was appalled. She was a former paramedic, and had never seen a patient treated this way.

I was incapacitated for 24 hours. While I slept, she phoned my firm and told them what had happened. The firm dropped the HMO insurance plan in response.

Washington, DC

Send your stories to wmrcampbell-at-gmail.com

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