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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
Insurance focused vs patient focsed healthcare
I retired from the federal government about 10 years ago and live overseas in Ghana and I can see a big difference how I was treated in the states verses my treatment at the private hospital I am now going to.
I remember about 25 years ago I was diagnosed with a kidney infection. The doctor prescribed antibiotic tablets which I took even though it very much upset my stomach. When I returned for the second appointment, I still had the infection, so he prescribed different antibiotic tablets. Again my stomach was upset and bloated and I didn't feel like eating. When I returned the third time, he said the infection had cleared up and I was ok.
Last year I was diagnosed at the private hospital in Ghana, again with a kidney infection. I spend two days in the hospital taking IV antibiotics, and I immediately felt better with no stomach problems. The total bill was less than two hundred dollars. What a difference in treatment.
In America I took two coarses of oral antibiotics lasting a month, one month of feeling sick and bloated, four doctor's visits and lots of lab tests. At my private hospital in Ghana, I had two days of IV antibiotics, no stomach problems and I was completely back to normal after those the two days.
My experience with insurance focused medicine in America has not been good. Doctors try every possible way to run up the bill and to keep you out of the hospital. Even when you are in a hospital setting, it is not a good experience. I had a hernia operation about 20 years ago in Atlanta. The surgical center discharged me after six hours, and they gave me some pills for the pain. I was in so much pain I could not stand up completely straight for about a week. If I had had the same operation in Ghana, I would have been recovering in the hospital for at least two days and they would have given me something stronger than tablets for the pain.
I like the hospital I am going to now because the doctors are highly qualified (most did their training in Europe) and the focus is on the patient rather than insurance. I know they don't have technology that is do in America. Also emergency services are way behind what is available in the states. But so far I am happy here because I get treated better here and I can afford it.
By the way, next month I will have completed my third year of taking the anti-inflammatory drug montelukast (Singulair).My extreme mental fatigue and occasional confusion are still gone and I am still back to normal. One time I stopped taking it for a few days and my symptoms came roaring back, so I quickly started back and I was back to normal in a few days. I'm not going to stop again.
IMHO, medical care in the US is expensive because we have a vast medical infrastructure that must be supported. There is a lot available to us even if we are not using it. I always find it interesting to read about medical care in other countries. I am leary of IV treatment in other countries because I know sanitation is problematic. Larry, I'm glad you had a successful experience.
I have to that add that I am going to one of the top private hospitals in Ghana. Although it is inexpensive by American standards, it is too expensive for the ordinary Ghanian. So most Ghanians have have to put up with overcrowded government hospitals or small clinics with limited services. I believe the goverment is trying but the money is not there. I am fortunate to afford the best service for a good price.
As for the medicines and IV's, they mostly come from India. Takoradi is a major coastal city and port in Ghana and there are a large number of pharmaceutical importers here. IV and medicine storage does not seem to be problem here, but it may a problem in the more remote parts of the country.
Thanks for posting this, Larry. I just discovered this thread as I have not been on the forum much lately.
You are precisely correct. Aside from some fortunate (for us) exceptions, the American medical system is filled with greed, indifference, and incompetence. And for those who do not have insurance, costs are huge for poor care.
Hospitals have simply become huge corporate business models. Get in, run lots of expensive tests--and get out. Hence the rise of long term care centers and rehab facilities. I have had lots of experience with my mother's illnesses at one of the allegedly top hospitals.
My brother is a hospice and LTC center doctor. The system is broken, according to one in the midst of it.