dead_man_walking.docx

Apr 24th, 2015
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Dead Man Walking Shocked wouldn't be accurate, since we were accustomed to our uninsured patients' receiving inadequate medical care. Saddened wasn't right, either, only pecking at the edge of our response. And disheartened just smacked of victimhood. After hearing this story, we were neither shocked nor saddened nor disheartened. We were simply appalled.We met Tommy Davis in our hospital's clinic for indigent persons in March 2013 (the name and date have been changed to protect the patient's privacy). He and his wife had been chronically uninsured despite working full-time jobs and were now facing disastrous consequences.The week before this appointment, Mr. Davis had come to our emergency department with abdominal pain and obstipation. His examination, laboratory tests, and CT scan had cost him $10,000 (his entire life savings), and at evening's end he'd been sent home with a diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer.The year before, he'd had similar symptoms and visited a primary care physician, who had taken a cursory history, told Mr. Davis he'd need insurance to be adequately evaluated, and billed him $200 for the appointment. Since Mr. Davis was poor and

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