STAY SICK, IT'S CHEAPER

An MSNBC report on people refusing medical treatment over the cost cites a local example:

Even as rising unemployment strips people of health insurance, sending many to emergency departments for care, doctors on the front lines say the lingering recession is also prompting an unexpected outcome.

More patients, they say, are refusing potentially costly procedures ranging from tests to confirm heart attacks to overnight stays to monitor dangerous infections.

“I have definitely seen an increase in this problem,” said Dr. Sara L. Laskey, who works in the emergency department of MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “They’re really making conscious decisions about what they do and don’t want done.”

Just last month, Laskey saw a woman with bronchitis and pneumonia with life-threatening oxygen levels who refused hospital admission because she had no insurance. Even when Laskey arranged for her to have an oxygen kit to take home, the woman turned it down because of the cost.

“She refused, saying she would share her husband’s oxygen,” Laskey said. “Ultimately she left without the oxygen or an admission.”

Read the whole thing here.

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