United States Ranks 37 in Health Care

Just look and see:

1  France
2  Italy
3  San Marino
4  Andorra
5  Malta
6  Singapore
7  Spain
8  Oman
9  Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America

It’s plain as day.

The United States sucks.

But I’d like to see even ONE of those other 36 nations do this:

Makayla Clary, of South Hill, Va., was a passenger on an ATV that suddenly tipped over.

“I initially found her at the accident and had to lift the ATV off of her,” her mother, Cheri Clay, said.

A helicopter carried Makayla to Duke hospital.

Catch that?  In order to provide treatment, a helicopter was employed.  And she was carried to Duke Hospital.  One of the world’s TOP facilities.

Okay, back to the news:

There, doctors said her legs were crushed and had severe cuts and swelling. It looked as if her right leg might need to be amputated, but her surgical team recommended waiting four more weeks, Duke plastic surgeon Dr. Detlev Erdman said.

During that time, Makayla underwent additional therapy, including hyperbaric oxygen treatments. In those, a person breathes pure oxygen in a sealed chamber with a pressure 1½ to three times greater than the normal atmosphere.

“With hyperbaric oxygen, we can actually decrease the swelling while simultaneously providing oxygen for those tissues which are not getting an adequate supply of oxygen,” said Dr. Bret Stolp, with Duke Hyperbaric Medicine.

Makayla spent two hours a day for two weeks in a hyperbaric chamber in pressure equivalent to diving 33 feet below sea level. A head tent fed her 100 percent oxygen.

The treatment accelerated Makayla’s treatment and helped save both her legs.

Recently, she was able to drop her crutches and take a few steps on her own.

“She took three steps towards me, and we just hugged and cried,” Clay said. “To go from an injury where half her leg is basically missing to having almost a complete limb now, it’s amazing.”

Makayla said her big motivation to get better is to return to the softball field, where she plays catcher on her school and recreation center teams.

From amputation to catcher on the softball team.

Not one other medical system on the list could have provided that treatment.  Expensive?  You betcha.  A feature or a bug?

Feature.

‘Nuff said.

19 responses to “United States Ranks 37 in Health Care

  1. A great, inspiring story. No doubt, when a person actually has access to healthcare, like the story told above, in an emergency, we are great (I myself am a former patient of Duke after being diagnosed with cancer as a child). The problem is when people don’t have access to preventative healthcare or face a chronic illness that requires ongoing physician management.

    Here are just 2 people with very different outcomes:

    1—-Not long ago, a young Ohio woman named Trina Bachtel, who was having health problems while pregnant, tried to get help at a local clinic. Unfortunately, she had previously sought care at the same clinic while uninsured and had a large unpaid balance. The clinic wouldn’t see her again unless she paid $100 per visit — which she didn’t have.

    Eventually, she sought care at a hospital 30 miles away. By then, however, it was too late. Both she and the baby died.

    2—–Back in 2006, The Wall Street Journal told another such story: that of a young woman named Monique White, who failed to get regular care for lupus because she lacked insurance. Then, one night, “as skin lesions spread over her body and her stomach swelled, she couldn’t sleep.”

    The Journal’s report goes on: “Mama, please help me! Please take me to the E.R.,” she howled, according to her mother, Gail Deal. “O.K., let’s go,” Mrs. Deal recalls saying. “No, I can’t,” the daughter replied. “I don’t have insurance.”

    She was rushed to the hospital the next day after suffering a seizure — and the hospital spared no expense on her treatment. But it all came too late; she was dead a few months later.

    • No doubt, when a person actually has access to healthcare, like the story told above, in an emergency, we are great

      But that’s not the narrative. The narrative IS that emergent care, the type of condition that will leave us bankrupt, is the stuff that we are horrible at.

      Here are just 2 people with very different outcomes:

      Heart breaking stories to be sure.

      No denies that we have work to do. We have the ability to help these folks get access to medical care. And that’s critical. But my point is that America’s medical delivery system is NOT 37th – we are the best in the world; period.

      If the young lady in Ohio lived in Cleveland, she could have found health insurance for as low as $65.90. However, the plan I would advise costs $105.45. The first is a cell phone bill, the second is a cable TV bill. If she is unable to afford even that small payment, she is making so little money that she qualifies for Medicaid. I suspect the same is true of the second woman.

      With that said, we can bring down the cost of insurance. For example, the pan I would recommend that 30 year old woman only costs $84.00 here in Carolina, virtually 20% cheaper than in Ohio.

      If the Left would post the problem as:

      “How can we bring down the cost of health care”

      rather than:

      “How do we give free medical care to every single person”

      We would be much much better off.

  2. On the helicopter point, Canada has STARS, which is actually a charitable non-profit (they run a cool lottery every year http://www.stars.ca/bins/index.asp). Hyperbaric chambers? Not so sure how common those are.

    Nonetheless, as someone on both sides of the border with direct experience inside both systems, I’ll say again that I think we need a BLEND of what Canada and the U.S. currently has. Let Canadians pay for plans they want to pay for which covers full electives (thereby creating a two-tiered system) and have every American paying into the current two tier system – NO EXEMPTIONS for young people or Obama’s and Pelosi’s favorites.

    • I’ll say again that I think we need a BLEND of what Canada and the U.S. currently has.

      I admit that what we have going on here in the US is not ideal. However, i struggle with the concept of providing free coverage to individuals. [children excepted]

      • Not to split hairs, but it’s not free. Certain things are covered and all critical care is covered under your $45/$95 per month plan (ind. vs. family) but you still have to get supplemental coverage for prescriptions, dental, etc.. The thing is, though, unless you’re super broke-ass poor everyone pays into it without exception.

        Yes, I was a student up there, yes, I made crap for money at the time, but yes I still paid into it so any student or young person who’d whine about having to pay it or not affording it would have to put a sock in it as far as I’m concerned because the fact is I spent way more on beer and pizza in a month. Plus, even as a student I was still prone to skiing accidents, sports injuries, car accidents, and the occasional stomach pump (haha) so just like car insurance, it was good to have it even if I didn’t need it.

        I had reluctant support for Obamacare when the idea first came out, but soon lost it, and now that he’s handing out exemptions left and right I chalk it up as a tragic waste of opportunity.

      • Also, I say that realizing that even Canada’s plan is ranked #30. I’m not sure exactly how those rankings come about, but it seems to me that many of those economies ranked higher are on pretty shaky ground where truly free medical services are considered entitlements. I’m not for anyone getting free coverage.

      • Not to split hairs, but it’s not free. Certain things are covered and all critical care is covered under your $45/$95 per month plan (ind. vs. family) but you still have to get supplemental coverage for prescriptions, dental, etc..

        Fair enough.

        Any haranging about care being denied when folks don’t go out and get that supplemental insurance?

  3. Those types of lists are misleading because the life expectancy for European-Americans (75.9 for men, 80.8 for women) is actually very similar to the life expectancy for Western Europeans and the life expectancy for Asian-Americans (80.9 for men, 85.8 for women) is very similar to the life expectancy for Asians. Because of our demographic diversity, we come out much lower overall than European and Asian countries with homogenous populations.

    • Because of our demographic diversity, we come out much lower overall than European and Asian countries with homogenous populations.

      I’ve made that exact point time and time again Crimson. When adjusted for all factors, the United States is #1 in infant mortality AND life expectancy. A fact ignored by the Left.

  4. pino, you are describing trauma medicine, something we lead the world on. But trauma medicine is a small segement of overall health care. It’s hard to save someone’s crushed legs and only the best can do it. But it’s easy to provide prenatal care to a pregnant woman and “the best’ doesn’t do too well with that part.

    And crimsonwife, those rankings are based on much more than life expectancy.

    • But it’s easy to provide prenatal care to a pregnant woman and “the best’ doesn’t do too well with that part.

      The #1 cause of death in America is hyper-tension.

      I receive “life saving” medication, delivered to my door, for the stupid crazy cost of $9.99. For a 90 day supply.

      Again, I admit that we have some educational issues. We need to teach mothers that it’s not okay to get pregnant when you’re single, the father is in prison and you have eating issues. We need to educate people that an apple is better than a pringle. And that smoking is crazy bad.

      But our health care system? Hard to beat.

      • [Again, I admit that we have some educational issues. We need to teach mothers . . . ]

        Teach mothers all you want pino (and I agree that education will make a difference), without prenatal checkups by professionals serious problems go untreated needs to be universal. Otherwise our costs go way up. And when I say ‘we’ I really mean the overall health care spending in the US, public or private. It’s just too much.

      • without prenatal checkups by professionals serious problems go untreated needs to be universal. Otherwise our costs go way up. And when I say ‘we’ I really mean the overall health care spending in the US, public or private.

        That’s part of the education; you have to go see a doctor. In a similar manner, you have to see an oil changer for your car too.

        I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently. He said that he hadn’t been to the doctor for a physical in 4-6 years. We were standing outside, he was burning cigarettes rapidly. there was less time between cigarettes than it took to smoke the one he had, AND he was on his 2nd 32OZ energy drink, his 4th of the day. Further, he is dangerously overweight.

        He claimed that he didn’t have the money.

        But he had a 2 pak-a-day habit, a 4 energy drink fix and a smart phone data plan. Not to mention enough food to be overweight. He didn’t have a revenue problem, he had a spending problem.

        HA! I tied in health care to the budget 😉

    • The U.S. has much greater rates of pregnancy among higher risk women- the obese, younger teens, the middle-aged -than most developed countries. Even those with access to prenatal healthcare still face a greater risk of perinatal mortality as a result. We could have 100% coverage and still have a relatively high maternal mortality because we have so many higher-risk moms. The one lady of my acquaintance who died in childbirth was upper-middle-class, white, and insured. She also was 38 and obese.

      • The U.S. has much greater rates of pregnancy among higher risk women- the obese, younger teens, the middle-aged -than most developed countries.

        Crimson Wife, you hit the nail on the head!

        The facts of the matter are that the United States ranks #1 in the world -just as you’d expect by the way- when these types of things are factored in.

        Further complicating the matter is that the ranking of the US is negatively impacted by the fact that we have people living in rural hard to reach areas like Montana and the like. See…it’s too hard to gets a doctor to those folks quickly…..so we suffer in the rankings.

        Nonsense.

        But that’s how it gets reported.

  5. Well, helicopters and other emergency transportation methods are used in Western Europe. Also the Europeans have a larger more compact population so hospitals and care is often very close. I’d not want a severe accident anywhere, but I think you’d get good care and responses in most of Europe as well as the US.

    That said, there are things we’re better at and worse at. But we have a very high per capita GDP and we spend a huge share of it on health care. A huge chunk of that is care during the last year of life, and a most of that is care just before death. I don’t want to be accused of advocating death panels, but I wonder if we need to spend that much on end of life care? (For my part, I’m making sure my will forbids the use of life sustaining technology if the chances of recovery to a decent quality of life are very small).

    • Also the Europeans have a larger more compact population so hospitals and care is often very close.

      Agreed. That’s one of the areas the US takes a hit on; we do not provide adequate care to the remote ranch towns in Montana.

      But we have a very high per capita GDP and we spend a huge share of it on health care.

      In the case of that girl, she would argue that the ability to spend money on care that saves her leg is a feature and not a bug.

      I don’t want to be accused of advocating death panels, but I wonder if we need to spend that much on end of life care?

      My father past away a number of years ago. He had the option of such technology. The cost was VERY high and the result would have been to add but months. He declined.

      Personal decision or death panel; same end result. But he got to make it.

  6. My dad had pancreas cancer, and he decided to die at home — it was actually very dignified. Someone from a hospice center would stop by once or twice a week, we learned to administer morphine to him towards the end against the pain, and until the last week when he was wasting away he remained in a good mood. He was relatively young too — only 60.

    I still think you miss the point on the cost — we should be able to have options that aren’t so expensive. I think there are a lot of inefficiencies and unnecessary expenses that could be cut. People on medicaid find they often have to use the expensive ER for primary care. People without insurance are always charged more than insurance companies are charged, even though they often have less ability to pay. Doctors specialize because that earns more, even though the need is for general practitioners.

    One solution is to try to promote the use of Physicians Assistants. Every time I’ve seen “the doctor” in the past five years its been a PA. My complaints have been mild, or else I’ve had a routine physical (which but for the nagging, er, loving reminders from my wife I would have probably skipped). That costs a lot less. For me it doesn’t matter — I could demand to see my actual MD and the copay would have been the same, the insurance company would have been billed more. But I feel I guess an ethical obligation to try to keep costs down — and my PA is extremely knowledgeable and would know when it would be necessary to consult an MD. So I’m not necessarily saying government programs are the answer, only that we need to cut costs.

    • My dad had pancreas cancer, and he decided to die at home — it was actually very dignified.

      Very similar story with regard to my dad.

      People on medicaid find they often have to use the expensive ER for primary care.

      Agreed. I would like to see more 7×24 doctors that aren’t ER docs. Perhaps if we made more doctors every year that would help.

      Every time I’ve seen “the doctor” in the past five years its been a PA. My complaints have been mild, or else I’ve had a routine physical (which but for the nagging, er, loving reminders from my wife I would have probably skipped). That costs a lot less.

      Very good point. I think we’re at the point in time where some procedures that inn the past have required a PhD can now be done by PA.

      I’m not necessarily saying government programs are the answer, only that we need to cut costs.

      You and I need to go bowling! Well said.

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