2011 - The Year We Take Back Congress and Make Obama's Life Hell!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Needed: Shakespearean Healthcare Reform!

Or,..."First thing we do, we kill all the lawyers!"

I don't normally post about my regular job, being a paramedic, on this blog. Its sometimes boring, sometimes mind-numbingly stupid in its scope of human depravity, and not nearly as glamorous as Wyatt's job as a police officer, or Captain America's fire captain.

Then I read stories like this and it makes my head explode!

2010 Apr 7
This massive $10 million jury award to a plaintiff in Florida presents a dilemma to ambulance services called on to transfer patients in labor from one hospital facility to a specialty care facility. On September 21, 2003, EVAC Ambulance, a respected high-performance, EMS agency, was dispatched to handle this inter facility transfer of a patient in labor and the crew responded with a duty to act as they would have to the home of a patient in labor.

The paramedic in charge was advised that the patient was 25-26 weeks pregnant and had been experiencing contractions approximately four minutes apart. The transferring physician reported the patient’s cervix was minimally dilated. An emergency transport was initiated and approximately fifteen minutes into the transport, the patient began experiencing contractions three minutes apart - lasting thirty seconds in duration.

Moments later, the patient’s amniotic sac ruptured and immediately following the sac rupture, the infant presented in the breach mode. The infant was successfully delivered, wrapped in a silver swaddler and ventilatory support was started. Due to the infant’s mottled skin color and flaccid condition, immediate CPR was started and continued for approximately eight minutes until the infant’s color improved, had slight movement and a weak cry. The mother and premature newborn were diverted to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford for stabilization where they were further treated. The infant was transferred to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando and treated in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Feel free to read the case dissection by AJ Heightman, a well-respected leader in the EMS field.

Here's my enraged take on the whole story:

1 - the local hospital probably doesn't have high-acuity OB/GYN doctors. Why? They're the biggest targets of malpractice cases in the US (source) (source). Many give up because they can't afford the insurance premiums. Because of that, the available appropriate facilities are few and far between, placing the care of the mother and child into the hands of (relatively) less-trained pre-hospital care providers for the transport.
2 - Normal gestation is 36-40 weeks. This baby was at 25 weeks, which holds a greater than 50% mortality rate. The deck was stacked again the baby long before the paramedics got involved.
3 - The mother had multiple disease processes going on in her reproductive system. That stresses the baby (note I refuse to say fetus) even more! Could a possible lack of pre-natal care contributed in an way?

So, instead, mom's now $10M richer, a great EMS provider's reputation is tarnished, and some bottom-of-the-pond scum lawyer got his 20%!

I'm disgusted!!!

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