Sunday, February 20, 2011

The care was futile, and the patient's wishes,

by Jim deMaine, MD

“We have a patient on a ventilator here who is stable enough to transfer to your ICU, if that’s OK with you.”

This call, coming from the transfer coordinator, is emblematic of an insurance generated “medical care” coverage issue. I am salaried under the patient’s insurance carrier so the insurer wants this patient back under its wing as soon as possible.

The community hospital has been keeping Stella Norris (not her real name), an 89 year old woman, as long as possible. She is incapacitated from a massive stroke suffered five years ago. There is a feeding tube inserted through the stomach wall and she has needed total body care. 911 was called when she stopped breathing and she was taken to the closest hospital.

Click on the "via" link to read the rest of the article.


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