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Socialized medicine sucks

I stepped on a rusty nail yesterday. Right up through the shoe and into the foot. It was a classic weasel trap: two old nails sticking up through a piece of wood in the tall grass in my next door neighbor’s back yard.

Typical. Her grandkids ran around back there the whole long weekend, and nothing. Me, I step around the back some sunny afternoon and bang. I’m disappointed there weren’t seven or eight rakes lying around so I could do the full Sideshow Bob.

I had no problem getting a same-day appointment from our local medical centre for a tetanus booster. I’ll say that about ’em…they always seem to be able to make time.

I asked the nurse lady if she’d like to see my boo boo. Her mouth said yes, but her eyes said, “why the hell would I want to see your dessicated old lady foot? I bet you haven’t had a pedicure in, like, forever.” Then she looked at it and nodded, like, “yep, there’s a small hole in your foot.”

What she didn’t say, and should have, is that it’s a quite small, shallow wound and so much more at risk of septicemia than tetanus. Because the nail shoved a lot of junk in there and it didn’t really bleed enough to clear it out. I should have been instructed accordingly.

But never mind. I gave it a good, long soak in salt water right after the injury. And another, later, in a mild bleach solution. I should be okay. Anyway, mortality from tetanus in the Western world is quite low nowadays.

Raise your hand if you knew what to do because you’ve spent most of your life mentally preparing for surviving the apocalypse…?

Good weekend, preppers!


Comment from tomfrompv
Time: April 25, 2014, 10:16 pm

So, does one show ID to get care in Britain? Is there a deductible? Co-pay?

Obamacare is really just expensive insurance. Big premiums, big deductables. Some things like BC pills are free, but others like treating a foot wound are not. Depends on politics. Doesn’t look promising!

I work with lots of Brit ex-pats. All claim the free part of NHS is awful due to waits and foreign doctors. So “everybody” buys insurance and go to that network where you get good care. but your experience seems contrary.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 25, 2014, 10:30 pm

Probably not contrary; I can get an appointment for a tetanus shot. I would probably have to wait months for a gall bladder operation.

No ID. A foreign tourist who has an accident in Britain gets the same free treatment as a British national. This one is controversial and may ultimately have to change.

I have a co-pay for my drugs. You can pay…I think it’s a £7 per scrip co-pay, or you can buy a year’s worth of everything you might need for £104. I think I have the numbers right because I just renewed my annual subscription.

There’s no deductible, because there’s nothing to pay. It’s a truly 100% subsidized government program. The NHS is also the third largest employer in the world (after the Red Army and the Indian railway system). I can only imagine how much that is bleeding us white, invisibly.

I’m fortunate that I’ve never been really ill under either system, so I can’t really comment on major health issues. I can say I’m not terribly impressed with routine care here.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: April 25, 2014, 11:08 pm

While in London in 2010, I managed to get to visit your NHS. I had to take a bus since the tube wasn’t working and the heat and motion caused me to be sick. When I puke I don’t stop, so ended up in a pub monopolizing the loo. I finally said call an ambulance cause I wasn’t getting any better and could feel the people lined up outside. Since it was World Cup Day and England lost I’m sure I was looked upon as a sad reveler who decided to drown my sorrow as they carted me out of the pub. Oh, the huge manatee!

Every turn in the ambulance was pure torture and I groaned more than once “get me there now!” Since I was tossing out weird heart thingies they took me straight away. Having been through this multiple times Mr C tried to tell them just give me anti vomit stuff and hydration. But no, they tried to address the heart issue. Since I wouldn’t unwind from the fetal position I was in, the dr came in to find out WTF. Following him was a chap with a pile of paperwork I swear was two inches thick. He told him to leave and not come back. Luckily the Dr decided to follow our instruction and shot me the hell up with some sort of drug that perked me I swear within 30 secs. Should have found out the name of it. They tried to take away my IV and I refused saying I wanted it to finish. The Dr stayed with us the whole time, even shooing the nurse away. Finally the bag was done and he escorted us out. The waiting room was wall to wall people, standing! I asked where we were to pay and he said it was a gift from the NHS.

I read up on it later and they do try to get furriners to pay, but looking at that pile of paperwork I bet no Dr in their right mind allows it to happen.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: April 25, 2014, 11:12 pm

When my daughter studied in London for a term, I had to pay in advance the equivalent of $100 a week for the NHS during her stay, before we got her visa. That was supposed to cover everything. She is diabetic and went keto-acidic and had to be hospitalized while there. Aside from the atrocities she saw while hospitalized that put the whole family off of government controlled medicine, after she got back HMG was most insistent that despite having paid for NHS coverage that I owed them the dollar equivalent of between £ 1,000-2000. Can’t remember the exchange rate then. It got to the point where I was getting nasty letters in polite Brit-speak threatening lawsuits. Total coverage my Tuchus.

As far as Obamacare, like most Americans I am running outlaw. In a couple of years my wife and I will be covered by Medicare. The cheapest Obamacare plan available costs more than our rent, food, and utilities combined [$1700 a month]; and only covers 60% after a $12,000 a person deductible, and we would have to travel 50 miles each way to a doctor. But it does cover free birth control for both of us over-60 types.

My last insurance plan cost $335 a month for family 80% coverage after a $1,000 deductible, and small co-pays for routine care and prescriptions.

By the way, did know what to do. The only thing I would have added, since it was shallow, was before it healed over, soaking in a 50-50 solution of water and Hydrogen Peroxide. The peroxide debrides the wound by eating the dead tissue, giving less of a medium for bacteria to grow.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: April 25, 2014, 11:18 pm

How can NHS be such a huge employer? Do Doctors get a paycheck from the govt? Nurses? The girl who takes your blood with that thick, dull needle?

I don’t get that part. Who’s the next largest employer?

My Brit co-workers claim the NHS flies in doctors from other countries to see patients. These doctors circulate around, go where there are sick people. Kind of like a migrant labor force. All paid by govt check?

How does that even work? Everybody gets paid the same, no matter what they do? Or is there a table of salaries, like the Post Office or School District. I’m gobsmacked.

Comment from JeffS
Time: April 25, 2014, 11:46 pm

I would have gone straight for debriding by means of a small syringe (or a turkey baster) filled with that 50% hydrogen-peroxide solution, followed by a soak in the same. (Yes, I have both available for that purpose.) Then an anti-bacterial cream with a bandage.

But the salt and bleach solution sound like a good idea. I hope the bleach was not scented. Good for your clothes, not good for internal consumption.

And don’t feel bad about being mishap prone, Sweeze. My step-sister put a pitch fork through her foot. We were getting the garden ready for planting one spring, and she decided that the cows could enjoy the weeds and grass as a snack. And it would save her the trouble of hauling them to the compost pile.

She grabbed the fork, put her foot on the pile to “hold the grass” (her words), and the middle tine of the pitch fork through her boot and foot, into the ground. My older brother pulled it out, easily enough; he had a hard time controlling his laughter.

But the last laugh was on us boys. Dear sister was excused from garden work for the rest of the summer. She was “afraid” of the garden.

Comment from Frit
Time: April 26, 2014, 12:02 am

I’m glad to hear…er…read… that you’ll be find, Stoaty.

Knew a girl when I was a wee bratling who stepped on a rusty nail. (We were playing together, both of us around the 4-6 year old range.) Nail went completely through her foot. She, of course, was bawling her head off, her foot was bleeding like mad, and her mum told her to ‘Be quiet, it’s not that bad’. I was so shocked I ran home to my own mum, wrapped my arms around her legs and told her I was glad she was my mum, and not that other lady!

Here’s hoping for a quick recovery for you! 🙂

Comment from P2
Time: April 26, 2014, 12:05 am

While stationed in England I got to see first hand the so dear that is the NHS…and got to compare it to uncle sam’s military medicine..(someone has to graduate last in the class…they call that person Doxtor, we called them Captain…). Give me competition any day…..

Comment from Deborah
Time: April 26, 2014, 4:04 am

My mother, who was a nurse, used to say that she knew for certain which of her patients were going to die: those with tetanus, and those with rabies. Needless to say, I got ALL of my booster shots, since I routinely ripped up my flesh.

Comment from Nina
Time: April 26, 2014, 4:14 am

My daughter has an NHS card that she got when she was there working on her Master’s, I don’t think it cost her anything, and like her UK DL, doesn’t seem to have an expiry date. I’ll have to ask her to drop by to verify.

Comment from Nieta de Bob
Time: April 26, 2014, 4:31 am

When I got there I had no intention of getting a doctor or making use of the NHS because, hey, I didn’t pay for it. However, part of my tuition (I believe) went towards the NHS and we international students were directed to get a GP. This was not optional (sorta like singing up for obamacare- I am also an outlaw in that regard). I signed up but really didn’t use it.

After Himself and I moved from Hull to Filey, we checked in with the local surgery (clinic) and the doctor did what he did and because I have hypothyroidism, I was given an NHS medical card. For people who have a chronic condition, or if you’re old, then you can get this card which allows you to get the medication for free. Even then, it was only £7.79 or something like that.

It does have an expiration date. And all I would have to do is return to the surgery, fill out the paperwork, and wait for a few weeks and I will have a new card. Half the time the chemist (pharmacy) just asked if I had a card for that and didn’t even bother to look.

The great thing about the NHS is that if you need fixing- you won’t have to pay. The bad thing about NHS is, if you need fixing they either won’t fix it or you’re going to have to wait. Himself wanted to get X procedure done and the doctor said, I can ask, but the NHS aren’t paying for that right now so I don’t think you’ll get approved.

And the NHS does not pay for dental care unless it’s an emergency- or so I gather. I just know that dentistry is not on the menu… unless you’re on benefits in which case, it is.

There was something else I was going to say but I had forgotten it.

Comment from BJM
Time: April 26, 2014, 4:57 am

I too tend to be of the rake-to-the head accident prone type and keep a good supply of hydrogen-peroxide, butterfly closures, non-stick gauze squares and Neosporin on hand.

I’m with Subotai and JeffS re hydrogen-peroxide…first thing I reach for when a body part is cut or punctured.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: April 26, 2014, 5:42 am

Actually, I held up both hands, as I am, in general, a belt-an’-braces kinda feller when it comes to advance-preparationin’…or something like that.

I, too, tend to the bathe-it-with-hydrogen-peroxide remedy, the stuff’s near-dirt-cheap at all the local pharmacies and doesn’t traumatize one near abouts like that ol’ summer-camp standby, merthiolate. It’s not good for a lot of modern-day synthetic fabrics, however, but then neither is blood or suchlike. Just sayin’…

Used to scrape, slice or puncture myself fairly regularly when I worked more often outdoors and/or in my home shop, haven’t been doing either so much these last few years, so less frequency of need for anti-tetanus and the like. I do keep the First Aid container stocked against need, though – better to have and not need, than need and not have, yes?

P.S. That gent up there at the top makes Tetanus look distinctly unpleasant, don’t think we want to be doing that, right? Shots seem a good, easily-acceptable alternative, really…

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: April 26, 2014, 6:52 am

If you let me know your paw size, I could stop by Baraboo Surplus, and pick up a pair of jungle boots for you. They have a steel insole, to prevent pungi stakes from penetrating.

Comment from ed
Time: April 26, 2014, 9:05 am

Yep. Plus I got some basic wound care training in the USMC. So that helps.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: April 26, 2014, 2:15 pm

I have such mixed emotions about the idea of an NHS. I have come round to the view that a -basic- level of free health-care is in the best interest of everyone individually, and of the a nation as a whole. ‘Typhoid Marys’ are a bad thing, as are sick children (if for no other reason than the fact they seem to be the most perfected form of spreading an illness through a population).

Further [Reader: please insert long list of other benefits here; my Editor deleted to avoid environmentally-adverse electron depletion, and so forth. Thus it makes both social and economic sense to provide a basic level of medical services for the populace, without requiring direct payment-for-services.

However , twixt the idea and the reality lies the void. I recently read that the UK NHS has an eighteen week goal for being seen after a referral from a GP, and that they are failing to meet that goal. I believe that my longest wait for a referral appointment in our greedy inefficient capitalist system has been about two weeks. In quality of service capitalism clearly wins.

The problem with the current American system is that the insurance-based model with government supplemented payment is that it has led to a “nothing but the best!” mentality. For mundane and uninteresting(honest) reasons I am in and out of many Dallas hospitals regularly. In the “free care, public ” hospital, Parkland, there are no wards… All the rooms are at least semi-private, with most are private. It sounds wrong to say this but the poor receive almost the same level of luxury in their hospital stays as the rich. Note that I am talking about amenities, not medical care, where the level of care is identical.

The ObamaCare model will exacerbate this problem…in that it provides zero incentive for hospitals to lower costs….oh, they go to generic medicines, but the private rooms remain.

I keep thinking of the Japanese model where everyone pays for a minimal level of care (zero free elective surgeries) and there are wards with 40 beds, and the tv’s are “coin operated” units that are rolled in on request. Now, if you want to go to a private hospital, you can, using your market-chosen voluntary insurance to cover the difference.

Perhaps that is the best compromise, although not perfect.

As for tetanus, my mother the RN viewed it as a death sentence 40 years ago. She kept all of our vaccinations up to date and then some. Her spirit is hovering round you right now Stoatie, quietly making sure that you are keeping your dressings clean, fresh, and dry on that wound. She’s probably being a lot nicer to you about it than she was to me in similar circumstances, but hey! I was a stupid kid, and alway getting cut, scrapped, bruised or burned.

🙂 She used to joke that a young boy like me was “the curse of a nurse”…

Comment from Janna
Time: April 26, 2014, 3:05 pm

My eldest son once told me I should be a product tester. If there’s any way to
cut yourself with it
burn yourself with it
trip over it
fall off it.
I’m your girl!!
He said I could make money just being myself!
Smart ass, gets it from his father’s side of the fambly.

Comment from Mojo
Time: April 26, 2014, 4:16 pm

“the full Sideshow Bob”

I love that clip

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 26, 2014, 5:05 pm

My mother went to nursing school, too. In her day, she said, there were two 100% fatal diseases: rabies and melanoma.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 26, 2014, 6:08 pm

Either that or he’s losing badly at beer-pong.

Comment from Oceania
Time: April 27, 2014, 12:46 am

Socialised medicine propaganda by Sweasel.

What she is actually referring to Fascist medical care.

Health system, for all its faults, in NZ … appears to work.
Except for greedy US companies trying to shaft NZers for hyper-expensive medications.

That’s why we have Pharmac, and are very wise to US medical company scams.

That’s why I’m calling Sweasel out – on Propaganda … on this one.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 27, 2014, 1:43 am

Oceania is losing badly at beer-pong.

Comment from Oceania
Time: April 27, 2014, 7:14 am

NHS? That’s not a health system – but a mortuary.

We have the best beer, wine … pong, or no pong.

Mooo and Baa open past midnight.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: April 27, 2014, 8:03 am

Oceanic Ignorance is losing it badly, period…as so commonly happens.

Comment from Nina
Time: April 27, 2014, 3:40 pm

Do what I do, J.S. Skip over his posts. 🙂

Comment from Oceania
Time: April 28, 2014, 5:20 am

Now now … when was the last time any of you signed up for Obama (nee Hillary) Care?

Got communists in the White House? You betcha! Kenyan Communists, to be precise!

Comment from Oceania
Time: April 28, 2014, 8:55 am

And who told ya all that – and no one listened?

Are we listening yet? 🙂

Comment from Allen
Time: April 28, 2014, 9:25 am

If there was a minor form of tetanus to prevent people from speaking (lockjaw) I would hope it’s endemic to the Potomac river. Perhaps the Thames.

Of course if they would move away it would be a cure.

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