Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is why healthcare is broken

T has been running a fever, coughing up a storm and running at the nose since yesterday morning. This morning when he woke up, he had a bright red rash along his groin and under his arms. It wasn't bumpy, looked sort of like a sunburn, and wasn't bothering him. Since it seemed unusual for a cold to have this kind of symptom, I called the "nurse line" for our health insurance. I should have known better.

The woman who answered seemed nice enough. She asked me all the usual questions. She also asked some questions like "Is he turning blue or gasping for air?" Lady, do you think I'd be on the phone with you if he was? Anyhow, we got all done and she said, "You need to take him in to the ER." 'Scuse me? I asked her if I couldn't just call his pediatrician and get an appointment for today. The response? Sigh .... "I suppose if you could get in right away that would be OK, but since I don't know what the rash is, you should really go to the ER."

Dude. Maybe my Mom-o-meter needs serious calibration, because it never once occurred to me to take my child to the ER for a rash that was brand new and not bothering him. If I took T to the emergency room every time he had a rash we'd be bankrupt. And so I didn't. I did call Ry to see if he thought I should (answer: no). Instead, I did what I should've done in the first place and made an appointment with his pediatrician. The verdict? A virus. The rash should go away within a couple of days of his fever breaking.

3 comments:

Becky said...

Ah yes, I believe she had "cover-my-ass-itis."

Cathy said...

In the nurses's defense. I just heard some of the scariest things in my Pediatric Nursing lecture today about things kids get and many of the symptoms are rashes and since she coulnd't see it you gotta go with the worse-possible scenerio. Better safe than sorry but also better to get in to the cheaper alternative quickly rather than pay 200 bucks...

Jenn said...

In most cases, I can see the boys' pediatrician way faster than they'd be seen at our local ER. I would think that would be preferable, especially given the fact that pediatricians are probably way more familiar with kids' conditions. $200 wouldn't touch the bill at the ER. The bill for the time I went to the ER was over $19,000. The bill for a standard kid's visit is about $120. I'll just know next time to call the doctor rather than the nurse line.

 
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