Saturday, January 27, 2007

FRENCH HEALTH CARE vs AMERIKAN HEALTH CARE

Ahhh...now you hit me where I have first kidney
experience.

My father was a physician so I know all the crap he
had to deal with in the US fighting tooth and nail
with the HMO's that rule these waters. HMO's are
granted powers to over rule a doctor on diagnosis,
treatment, hospital stay, medication and then be left
blaimless if their actions cause a problem or death.
Again as most things here its about the $$$$...over
test, over medicate, over eveything, and prolong
treatment and not cure so that more $$$ can be made.

In 1999 my French doctor found I had a very large
kidney stone...he found this doing an examination in
his tiny office in a village and only using his hands.
He sent me in for xrays and they confirmed that I had
a stone of 4cm. Office exam was $35 and xray cost me
$60. Saw a specialist and his recomendation was
surgery to remove the stone since the ureter was
kinked in one area and that was the cause of the
kidney stones forming. Specialist exam cost me $75
and his cost for surgery was estimated to be $600 plus
hospital stay.

I then went back to the US and saw my doctor since I
wanted to have it removed here as I tought our care
was far better. Saw my GP, then a specialist, then
another, than xrays and injected dyes and in the end I
was out $7400. Recommendation was to go in for
ultrasound treatment to shatter the stone and to pass
all the bits and pieces. And if that did not work
they could always do surgery as a second step... but
they gave me an 85% chance of success using
ultrasound.

Sounded interesting to me, no surgery. I had a large
stone once before in 1984 and it was removed in a 3 hr
surgical proceedure. Same doctor as the one I was
seeing so he knew the history. I asked for a cost
since I was paying as I had no insurance in the US at
the time. I was told that the ultrasound would run
between $12k-$15 in total and that if I had to have
surgery it could be double or more on top.

With those types on cost I went back to France where I
had insurance and asked my GP and specialist what they
thought of my US doctors recommendations. They both
thought he was nuts as they said it was impossible for
any small bits to pass the kink in the ureter and that
they would not support that treatment.

Why I choose not to listen I will never understand but
I was hell bent on not having surgery so I went and
saw a few other specialists in France and got the same
answer...not one would touch the ultrasound in my
case. I finally went to the teaching hospital in Nice
and spoke with the doctor who ran their ultrasound lab
and convinced him to try the proceedure. I singed a
waiver that the hospital would not be liable and he
had several call with my doctor in the US about what
they were going to do. One day I went in with
Steph...had a 30 minute ultrasound session, felt
great...walked out and went home.

That afternoon when I was walking to dogs I was hit
with the most god awfull pains I have ever
experienced. Steph rushed me to the local hospital
where they found my kidney had swelled to the size of
a grapefruit. The stone had shattered but none of the
pieces had passed and were blocking it off completely.
I spent 5 days in the hospital.

After xrays and an evaluation by a specialist they
found that the stone had exploded and had lodged many
pieces into the kidney walls. Any surgery to remove
the pieces was out of the question until the kidney
fully healed. Three years went by before the kidney
was healed fully to perform surgery. During that time
I had 3 additional attacks. When I finally had
surgery in France they corrected the ureter probelm
using a micro surgery technique that no one has yet
seen in the US. My doctor had the tape on the monitor
saved for me so I could watch afterwards. They also
widened the whole ureter to the baldder so that in the
future I would pass stones if they formed...again
unheard of in the US. Surgery took 6 hrs...only left
me with two tiny scares less than 1 inch. I stayed in
the hospital 10 days to fully recover..had great food
and care and have never felt better. Total cost for
the whole nut was about $3600... including hospital
stay. And these were foreigned rates not French rates
as the French are fully covered for anything anywhere
in the world. What more can I saw.

In the US that type of surgery would have exceeded
$50k and they would have shoved my ass out the
hospital door in 24 hrs, sent me home with a bag of
meds, and charged me up the wazoo for the follow-ups.

Neither Steph nor I will vere have anything outside of
an extreme emergency done here.....I will gladly fly
to France where I know the system is designed to cure
and not to prolong.....

1 Comments:

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