Bitter Pill: The Exorbitant Prices Of Health Care

Tyler Durden's picture

Instead of asking the endless question of "who should pay for healthcare?" Time magazine's cover story this week by Steve Brill asks a much more sensible - and disturbing question - "why does healthcare cost so much?" While it will not come as a surprise to any ZeroHedge reader - as we most recently noted here - this brief clip on the outrageous pricing and egregious profits that are destroying our health care quickly summarizes just how disastrous the situation really is.  A simplified perspective here is simple, as with higher education costs and student loans: since all the expenses incurred are covered by debt/entitlements, there is no price discrimination which allows vendors to hike prices to whatever levels they want. From the $21,000 heartburn to "giving our CT scans like candy," Brill concludes "put simply, with Obamacare we’ve changed the rules related to who pays for what, but we haven’t done much to change the prices we pay."


Via Time,

The $21,000 Heartburn Bill

One night last summer at her home near Stamford, Conn., a 64-year-old former sales clerk whom I’ll call Janice S. felt chest pains. She was taken four miles by ambulance to the emergency room at Stamford Hospital, officially a nonprofit institution. After about three hours of tests and some brief encounters with a doctor, she was told she had indigestion and sent home. That was the good news. The bad news was the bill: $995 for the ambulance ride, $3,000 for the doctors and $17,000 for the hospital — in sum, $21,000 for a false alarm.

"Giving out CT Scans like candy..."

The costs associated with high-tech tests are likely to accelerate. McKinsey found that the more CT and MRI scanners are out there, the more doctors use them. In 1997 there were fewer than 3,000 machines available, and they completed an average of 3,800 scans per year. By 2006 there were more than 10,000 in use, and they completed an average of 6,100 per year. According to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the use of CT scans in America’s emergency rooms “has more than quadrupled in recent decades.” As one former emergency-room doctor puts it, “Giving out CT scans like candy in the ER is the equivalent of putting a 90-year-old grandmother through a pat-down at the airport: Hey, you never know.”


Selling this equipment to hospitals — which has become a key profit center for industrial conglomerates like General Electric and Siemens — is one of the U.S. economy’s bright spots. I recently subscribed to an online headhunter’s listings for medical-equipment salesmen and quickly found an opening in Connecticut that would pay a salary of $85,000 and sales commissions of up to $95,000 more, plus a car allowance. The only requirement was that applicants have “at least one year of experience selling some form of capital equipment.”

When you follow the money, you see the choices we’ve made, knowingly or unknowingly.

Over the past few decades, we’ve enriched the labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs. Meanwhile, we’ve squeezed the doctors who don’t own their own clinics, don’t work as drug or device consultants or don’t otherwise game a system that is so gameable. And of course, we’ve squeezed everyone outside the system who gets stuck with the bills.


We’ve created a secure, prosperous island in an economy that is suffering under the weight of the riches those on the island extract.


And we’ve allowed those on the island and their lobbyists and allies to control the debate, diverting us from what Gerard Anderson, a health care economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says is the obvious and only issue: “All the prices are too damn high.”

The health care market is not a market at all.

It’s a crapshoot. Everyone fares differently based on circumstances they can neither control nor predict. They may have no insurance. They may have insurance, but their employer chooses their insurance plan and it may have a payout limit or not cover a drug or treatment they need. They may or may not be old enough to be on Medicare or, given the different standards of the 50 states, be poor enough to be on Medicaid.


If they’re not protected by Medicare or protected only partially by private insurance with high co-pays, they have little visibility into pricing, let alone control of it. They have little choice of hospitals or the services they are billed for, even if they somehow knew the prices before they got billed for the services. They have no idea what their bills mean, and those who maintain the chargemasters couldn’t explain them if they wanted to.


How much of the bills they end up paying may depend on the generosity of the hospital or on whether they happen to get the help of a billing advocate. They have no choice of the drugs that they have to buy or the lab tests or CT scans that they have to get, and they would not know what to do if they did have a choice.


They are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market where the only consistent fact is the profit of the sellers.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Most seniors like you are not so fortunate.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Mr. Ginslinger, Jim Fixx would like a word with you.

Straw Dog's picture

Jim Fixx got plenty of exercise (running) but did not eat a healthy diet. Google Gary Null's comments on Jim Fixx

Henry Hub's picture

Hey Ginslinger,

At the age of 64 I hadn't seen a doctor since I was a kid. Exercise and diet paid off. I had some chest pains, went for tests and ended up with triple coronary bypass operation. It's only a matter of time for you my friend, only a matter of time.

fonzannoon's picture

Texas do u have a family and if so, have a family health plan? 

nmewn's picture

Let me see if I got this order to save you money everyone should adopt your lifestyle choices or it's problematic for you?

At the age of 53, I'm getting a little "sick & tired" of fucking busy bodies telling me what I should or should not be doing with my body.

fonzannoon's picture

he misses the point on several levels.

nmewn's picture

Very much so.

I think everyone knows proper diet and exercise is healthy. What "they" always fail on is choice. I have always rejected the premise that in order for one to have "cost savings" another must have liberty loss.

If he wants to eat grass, I don't care, let him. I like meat, wild turkey and gator tail are delicacies ;-)

fonzannoon's picture

it's funny that theme plays into so many different conversations on here. What happened to Crockett by the way? if he found a hobby i wish he would share it.

nmewn's picture

The theme should, freedom goes hand in hand with repsonsibility.

I dunno about Crockett, I was wondering that too, maybe got bored or busy...and akak (but I see he showed up today). I don't blame people from taking a break from the insanity pointed out everyday.

Just glad when I see em again, even if I don't offer salutations or have anything to add.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I was worried about akak too...figured Trav chased him away. I'm in new Zealand and haven't fully taken a break. Mr miffed rolls his eyes when I ask for wireless passwords. I think he'd sign me up for ZH anonymous if he could find it.


mkhs's picture

You're in NZ? I was sure you were South Cal.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

On holiday ;-). Will be hard to return to the rat race


akak's picture

Thanks for noticing my absence, MM and nmewn, but all was and is well.  I was merely on extended travels with no access to the internet (yes, it can happen, and not entirely involuntarily either, no offense to anyone here or ZH itself).  It was a hectic but very good break.

OK, now where's that AnAnonymous?  I need to rip him a new one!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Good to hear you're well and still fiesty! We're having lunch at a tiny cafe in the middle of nowhere in NZ. I picked it because it had wifi. Then I see your post. How global the world is now. We'll be on a sheep ranch for 3 days so this is probably my last ZH fix for a while. Now Mr Miffed is glaring at me so I must sign off.

A bientot!


akak's picture

Good to see you here as well MM --- you are one of my favorite posters here.

(I hope that that did not come across as flirtacious!)

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Well, you honor me with your comment. I do admit I feel intimitated posting with the savvy big time posters here but what's the point of living if one is never challenged? I'm always amazed at the quality of the articles and the following commentary, it seems incredible how many interesting people from so many walks of life have congregated here. Yes there are the dipshits, but dipshits are everywhere and are easily ignored as long as you don't engage. Speaking of that ...please don't step into a pile of Trav. It's REALLY painful to read. Of course that is totally your affair and I respect your decision to engage but speaking as a bystander it's horrific. Perhaps because I have been a "Trav" in my life(took several years of work with a cognitive therapist to unTrav myself) and when I see him ripping you it brings up a lot a bad memories and guilt on my part. You are a good person and don't deserve it. Just my 2 cents. My flirtation back at you ;-)

Oh yeah the sheep ranch has wifi much to the chagrin of my dear husband! I promised I would limit my time. I mean there are certainly worse things to be addicted to don't you think?


Tompooz's picture

"now where's that AnAnonymous?  I need to rip him a new one!"


Nooo, not on the roadside please.   

FreedomGuy's picture

You far. There are numerous things that can still happen to you and put you back in the curve. You are doing everything right, it sounds but it is a probability game. You have changed the odds of certain outcomes but you may still have something happen. I wish you well but another person cannot predict their results from yours alone.

Parrotile's picture

- near perfect health  -

So, not exactly perfect then. Consider yourself lucky so far, and consider also the very high possibility of "systems failures" in your near future - once 60 arrives, we see a really big increase in problems associated with our decision as a species to walk upright, and these problems will certainly curtail your ability to indulge in any excercise - vigorous or otherwise!

These problems do not care whether you have a "healthy" diet or not, but they are exacerbated (in duration and severity) by wear and tear - which is just what "vigorous exercise" does.

So, be careful. (Certainly avoid any activities that may result in bony injuries - your ability to repair your skeleton is far less effective now than it was in your 20's, and with the rise in multidrug resistant microbes, operative repair is becoming quite a risky proposition!)

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

This is why I do yoga. Though I do go out with mr miffed for our 5k jog because cardio is important, I feel yoga is fabulous for balance and core strength. Things that are critical in the 60+ years. I'm hoping to avoid the walker as long as possible. Genetics can be helpful too but I honestly don't think it dooms one if parents don't live long. It just requires one to be more proactive about ones health. There is so much against Americans at this time. High stress, poor nutrition, over reliance on Pharma and no exercise. Recipe for disaster.

Miffed ;-)

harami's picture

Because when you tell someone to stop smoking, drinking alochol, or otherwise stop eating shitty food they get butt hurt and say shit like "It's my body" or somehow convince themselves even though they're well past the 250 lbs mark, or more, that somehow they're still not fat and if they don't admit it in public or outloud they're thin.  You get comments like "Genetics" or "My body type" but 90% of the time it's the answer is you're not taking personal accountability for having two asses.

Can't recommend eating less meat, can't recommend eating more vegetables, can't recommend exercising vigorously to lose weight (walking for 30 minutes a day is a load crap if you think that'll keep you healthy), can't recommend stop drinking wine because it's a "social lubricant" or has antidioxidants (newsflash, so do fruits and veggies that would cost you less) because those all involve life style changes or otherwise giving up some kind of vice that people would rather not.

Now having legitimate health issues like an inactive thyroid or suffering from a severe lack in vitamins can sometimes be beyond your control, but again, usually a shift in your diet or simply taking a supplment that will cost you $10 a month, if that, can alleviate those issues with time and hard work.

Nope, all our health issues can't be our own fault or using the fucking internet to search for our own solutions and educating ourselves, it has to be the system!

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

It's kind of a vicious cycle.

1.  Our habitat design is stressful to hairless monkies.

2.  Hairless monkies respond to stress with short-term vice "remedies", quick rush.

3.  Said vices make habitat stress even worse, increasing the "need" for 2.

combatsnoopy's picture

You're getting close. 

Big Pharma has infiltrated the mediums with a bunch of bad information to protect the sales of metformin, Lipitor, Livalo, Byetta, fat loss aids and the like.Remember, because they cut costs and make bigger profits from boomers, they have a very loaded hand.

I have an endocrine issue which is caused by TOO MUCH INSULIN.  I take care of myself, with chocolate and my glucose levels are in good range because... well, I exercise.

The PA from Stanford pushed metformin on me.   The other krap she pushed on me made me sick. But watch out for the sick cult of Metformin worship.  Metformin raises the AMPK which does trigger insulin release. 

In time, after two years of trial and error and research on Google (Thank God for Google!) I figured out a few things that would aid me in recovery and maintain my health.  Sorry I don't have the time to follow up with the novel on what I learned.  BUt it's nothing that's posted in Health RX magazine. 

Even WebMD won't utter the words "high fructose corn syrup" and that junk kills your liver and your metabolism.

Read the actual academic research papers and articles you can find on Google. 
The boomers don't do this.  WE have to be smarter than the refs.  And we are. 

BTW, I majored in FINANCE.  Not Premed, not biochem, I never passed organic chem.  And I still understood this stuff.  The goods are out there, it's up to people to take the initiative to get the information for themselves.


indygo55's picture

Please tell me what you found out? Really, I would love to know just the basic things you do?



ThankYouSirMayIHaveAnother's picture

Yes weight loss/ exercise can help treat elevated insulin levels if you are overweight don't think chocolate is the answer

DaveyJones's picture

Tyler is only a problem for TBTB

Nutrition is the best preventative medicine. Why wouldn't it be. You are indeed what you eat. Food can also cure things. I post this all the time, but still try to catch  the documentaries "Food Matters" and take a look at "The China Study" the largest human nutrition / health study to date. Physically, mankind is nothing more than an evolved animal. We've been around for more than a hundred years. Maybe we should look at what we ate and what we should eat. Not what the current global corps are shoving down our kids throats along with the propoganda that comes with.  

Nutrition and its "heathy delivery" is no different than a healthy economy - diversity, redundancy, resiliency, a free market of plant, animal and insect competition, and natural failure - all constantly and literally feeding the very foundation of the system. Economies survive the exact same way as environments. And why shouldn't they? Economies are supposed to be based on the real world not a spreadsheet. And that "health" is vital down to the microbial level. It's utterly simple in its complexity and truth. No wonder we can't see it. No wonder they don;t want us to

Like everything else "modern" man has done - his current economic safety, his food quality and delivery, his medicine safety, his energy safety, hell his toxic safety - it's all been sacrificed for the short term profit of a select group of large and larger criminals

It's amazing...and stupid...and deadly. 

BigDuke6's picture

I post a similar message on health threads here and often get slammed but ill keep educating you.

In the USA Florida 1 in 2 people die in intensive care... Or expensive care as its nickname
In other countries that's more like 1 in 10
It's not the only factor but the first step in getting costs down is to say
I don't want it all done I go with dignity

Sadly the family in their acute upset at seeing 90 yr old grandpaw in ICU is to say 'do everything you can doc'

Am I getting through?

Encroaching Darkness's picture

My dad had insurance, but didn't want to go into the hospital. My mom called the ambulance when he had the first heart attack - he got over it, had another several years.

The second heart attack sent him back, but they didn't operate that time - doctors didn't think he'd survive the operation, I think. He went home, got better, had another couple of years.

I was called on the phone when he was in for the last time; he was kind of fuzzy just before, that's why they took him in. Once he got in the hospital and woke up, he was appalled; he realized he'd been slipping in and out of awareness, didn't want to die in hospital, didn't want to run up a bunch of charges or wind up in a bed forever, no quality of life.

I remember the nurse asking,"If you don't cooperate, do you realize what will happen? "

His response, I heard it on the phone: "I'm 85 years old, and I know exactly what will happen!" He was not afraid of death, but of living as a helpless patient.

When asked, my input was "If you can, heal him. But do not torture him." My sister knew exactly what I meant.

They insisted he perform a test to prove he was well enough to release. They got him up and made him walk across the room. He collapsed and fell, they put him back in bed and he was dead before they could resuscitate him. Sister and I knew he had escaped the health care (CHS' "sick care") system.

Whatever costs were covered by the insurance, mom didn't lose everything. Had he died at home like he wanted, all those costs could have been saved.

BigDuke6's picture

We all want a good death and your paw sounds like he had a good plan for it
Sadly it seems like you need to have a strong will to push that plan through with your family all behind it.... Judging by your moving story.

In Australia our insurance companies are kept in check by the government and doctors themselves ..
If an insurance company is shit I tell my patients
It's sad you guys have lost confidence in your doctors - they need to start leading and telling the insurance companies to get fucked by the sounds...

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I hear you. I regularly see full codes ordered on 95 year old people who, obviously, didn't have an advanced directive and whose family couldnt let go. People don't understand what a full code does to an elderly person. The chest compression alone will crack their sternum to bits. If I were in charge I would require the family members to watch the process. Things might change. If you want to make an informed decision about your personal healthcare, volunteer at a hospital for a month. I have seen some scary stuff working in a hospital for 30 years and will tattoo DNR on my chest it is means avoiding heroic measures when inappropriate for me.


Parrotile's picture

Miffed - you never forget you first resus - it's when you find that the Laerdal Resusci-Anne mannequin isn't quite as authentic as you thought!

Resusci-Anne doesn't make groaning sounds, or bubbles up "interestingly chunky frothy stuff" during the exhalation phase, or has "interesting crunches" corresponding with broken ribs, lacerating God knows what on the inside!

And as you know, unlike the "fake reality" of the Silver Screen, the "real" reality is that if your pateint NEEDS CPR their immediate survival rate is pretty poor (can be < 10%), whilst their long term survival rate is much worse, UNLESS the arrest was caused by something easily fixable (typically electrolyte disturbance, drug idiosyncracy, or accidental over dosage).

On an equally cheerful note - looks like "our Old Friend" and the World's No 1 killer Malaria is far from beaten - as could have been esaily predicted from past experience with monotherapies for other diseases Worldwide

If or when "it all collapses" the Gold, Guns 'n ' Ammo Brigade are going to find that all the "invisible services" they bitch about funding via theur taxes are not so irrelevant after all. Without safe water, and safe wastewater management, it's no exaggeration to suggecst that population levels will fall, and the biological hazard posed by millions of dead is guaranteed to place metropolitan areas "off limits" for the survivors for many decades.

Add in the risks associated with other infrastructure failure (nuclear power - I'm looking at you!) and times will be a LOT more interesting than many on ZH realise, and it'll definitely NOT be a case of "controlled collapse".

This is why we have chosen a "floating residence", and a very blue-water capable one at that.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Parrotile, of course I will never forget my first. He was a man who completed a marathon and decided to ride his bike home. Unfortunately he was too tired and veered into on coming traffic. They worked for 45 min on him. I can see their point, here was a healthy young male and they really wanted to save him. After a while I asked what was the grey matter dripping on the floor out of his ears and they told me that was his brains. I managed to keep going but I went home and cried. All Mr Miffed could do is rock me in his arms until I stopped. I could never tell him what happened. I realized I was too sensitive to continue in trauma and moved into micro and molecular. My mother always claimed I was cold hearted and unfeeling to bury myself in the lab. She never understood it was quite the opposite. People should volunteer in a hospital and see reality. Many cultures incorporate the dying process with the family. In the USA we hide it behind close doors and shelter the family. I remember I was called to monitor a organ harvest. They asked me do do a bleeding time on the pt before I gown up before surgery. When I went in the room the pt was in full blown agonal breathing. When I started the bleeding time they told me they were bringing in the family for their last good byes. They did something that stopped the agonal breathing, the family came in and cried ( I had to hold my face away so they wouldn't see me crying as well). Then when they left, the agonal breathing resumed. I asked why did they do that and they said it was very damaging for someone to see their loved one breath like that at the end of their life ( I saw their point) and even though it was better for the organs not to do it, it was a price to be paid for them to see a calm ending. Frankly end of life as you and I know is rarely pretty.

Thanks for the link. I was under the understanding they were on the cusp of getting an effective malaria vaccination. Perhaps a bit premature. The very nature of cryptozoites made that a remote possibility in my mind. We had a few out breaks of malaria in San Diego in a lagoon in Carlsbad. If it gets a foothold in this country there would be hell to pay. People don't have a clue that yellow fever,TB and other serious arthropod infections were common in this country at the turn of the century. Only through diligent Public Heath initiatives were they erraticated. The future doesn't bode well

On a happier note, mr miffed and I had a wonderful time in Australia and are in New Zealand for the rest of the week. Thank you for all the recommendations! Sydney was truly expensive as you warned! ;-)


indygo55's picture

we are supposed to work, work, work and pay, pay pay, and then when we get to a certain age, before we can benefit from all this input we die. Its all part of the plan. I know a guy in his mid fourties, big belly, has diabetes, he drinks regular coke all day long. I ask why does he do that and he says he needs the caffiene to keep working. I ask what does his doctor recommend and he says "insulin". Its a multi billion dollar business. We (they cuz I'm not part of this) are part of a big machine that creates wealth for the industry. Take control of your lives and your body. Only whole foods and minimum sugars and zero processed foods. Excersise like a cave man. Like you own it. Live outside these bastards and live a vigorous healty life and be positive and aware. I do and I am old. I feel great and I'm going for 130. In my mind. Peace. 



Straw Dog's picture

I second the plug for The China Study. Compares diet and health across populations an geographies. The bottom line, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and many cancers are eradicated if you follow a plant based diet. Written by a mainstream scientist and references hundreds of peer reviewed studies. Worth everyones time to read this book.

combatsnoopy's picture

I don't know why you got a bunch of thumbs down, you're on it.
I keep bringing up Japan and there's a reason why they have the lowest cost of healthcare around.  On that note, they are lucky in that they have immediate access to affordable REAL foods and recipes that makes low saturated fat diets tasty.
They have access to FRESH sea food.  REAL food is excellent when it's FRESH.

They care A LOT about their health, they see the doctor all the time.  But because they're healthy, their healthcare system is not considered to be a money maker so well, they don't have money to lobby against the market.  This is how free market discipline (yes DISCIPLINE is a very good word here)- DISCIPLINE took over the Japanese socialized health care system. 

Yes their minister and doctors negotiate prices for their citizens.  But they took responsibility for their own health.

In the U.S., now with QE stupid Bernanke, stupid speculators are pushing up the price of commodities and fresh grub isn't as accessible anymore.  We're impounded with palm oil and high fructose corn syrup in literally EVERYTHING we eat. 

We have a rather LARGE BABY boomer population struggling with diabetes II, heart disease.  This is the group that has been tossing atoms and molecules at their problems since they first found beer at the store or attended the Summer of Love (or wish they had).  These guys are giving Big pharma control of the market with their own behavior. 

The rest of us are not innocent either.  Chocolate loves me. 

But anyways, the U.S. relies on a heavily lobbied legislative and court system to keep healthcare legit and apparently it's not working.   Just ask the sick cult of Metformin worship.


Incubus's picture

Because exercising is "hard."


I promise you lazy fucks, exercising gets easier the more you do it.  Put down the twinkie and lift a little weight and go for a run.


As with everything in life; the current you is the result of a progression of things.  The fat hanging off your tits didn't get there over night.  Get your diet in order and be active and you'll see it feels better than any High Fructose Corn Shit fermenting in your gut.


I see this tubby big bitch at work who chows down on his medications, and I think to myself, "Wow.  If this motherfucker ran a little, he wouldn't have to take that stuff--but I guess popping pills is the easier route?"


I see fatasses complaining about their problems, and I can't help but think about how ignorance is no excuse.  They do it to themselves.



strangewalk's picture

Texas G has the best posts on this forum. Most health problems that people in advanced countries experience are 'man-made'. Eating a processed food diet along with insufficient exercise are two of the main culprits, and many or even most people would be much better off if they avoided the use of prescription drugs. 

But still, why is it that in the US open heart surgery can easily cost way upward of $150,000, an appendectomy $50,000, a broken leg $40,000, to mention a few, yet at JCI approved, state of art hospitals with world class physicians in India, China or Thailand the corresponding costs would come to only $10,000, $2,000 and $1,000...?? 

TBT or not TBT's picture

Humans don't need a lot of exercise to maintain good health and enjoy a long health span.    Forget the gym.   It is 90% about diet.

All Risk No Reward's picture

Sick care is likely going away in the collapse.  If it doesn't, you will be lucky.

Get well or roll the dice.

People don't have to like it, but what is liked isn't necessarily real.

Now is the time to deal in reality.

goldfish1's picture

Good point .


And, herbs are great sources of low cost medicine.

skullcap, hyssop, echinacea, garlic, catnip, elecampane, st. john's wort.

toady's picture

About time someone asked that question? Are you kidding? The internet has been SCREAMING that question ever since it became apparent that the ACA was written by the insurance companies for the insurance companies and no one but the insurance companies.

Now, if your talking about the MSM or politcos asking that question, it'll never happen.

CheapBastard's picture

I went to my ortho doctor with wrist pain and without even touching me he told me I 'needed' an MRI ($1,800.00). I told him I'm a Cheap Bastard and wont pay for it unless he examines me he threw me out of his office.

I went to my family doctor with a headache, and without touching me or even looking in my eyes or taking my blood pressure he told me I 'needed' a CAT Scan of my brain ($2,100.000). When I told him I'm a Cheap Bastard and he needs to examine me first or I wont pay for he threw me out of his office.

I went to my internist with belly pain and he told me I 'needed' a 'comprehensive chest and abdomen scan' ($3,400.00). When I told him I'm a Cheap Bastard and wanted an exam before this expensive test or I wont pay ....he threw me out of his office too.

I went to my psychologist and told her I'm getting depreseed b/c of this new style of medical care. Before I could even finish my symptoms and withot any Freudian analysis (or anything) on her part, she had written five prescriptions, handed them to me saying on her way out the door, "Take these and come back in three months."


I went to the Chinese woman for a massage and told her about my problems. She told me eat 1 papaya a day instead of all that other formal medical stuff. i did and within three weeks 100% better ! All it costs me were the papayas and what I paid for her maaagse. For Christmas, I paid for and gave all my friends a gift certificate to her for a massage as a thank you to her. You may call me a Cheap Bastard, but I 'm a grateful person also. BTW, I'm still eating a bowl of papayas a day and feel great!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

In Oct 2007 in went home at 2pm feeling very I'll. At 5 pm I was in agony, my left side felt like a knife was turning in it. I frantically called mr miffed to come and take me to the hospital. When he got home and saw me writhing on the bed he pulled out his iPad and in 5min said " I know what's wrong! You've either got appendicitis or have a cyst on your ovary. But I don't think it's the cyst because your pain came on suddenly." mr miffed is a computer programmer. After 6 hrs in the ER and multiple tests including ultrasounds, CAT scans and lab work, th ER doc finally proclaimed I had appendicitis. Mr miffed turned to me with the " WTF is wrong with your field" look. I said I was sorry but your field is not fucked up by government regulation as mine.

Then when he got the bill for 40,000 he had another WTF moment. Considering they removed it laparoscopically and I left a few hours later AMA when they said I would have a minimum stay of 3 days, he figured it would be cheap. I don't have the heart to tell him what that would have cost.


Anusocracy's picture

I thought the appendix was on the right side.

Mine ruptured, but I was fortunate, it was an encapsulated appendix and was contained in a sac. They drained the sac and treated me with antibiotics.

Still have my appendix, sitting happily in its condom.

Parrotile's picture

LEFT side?? McBurney's point is on the RIGHT side.

Left side suggests PID or ovarian pathology (in the Ladies). It can also be an indicator of acute diverticulitis (inflamed / infected / infarcted diverticulum) or acute colitis.

If it WAS left sided pain (with no initial migration from the umbilicus) that indicates why they took so long - however acute appendicitis does not always "follow the rules" - - and note also that this problem still kills (OK, mainly in the elderly population, but mortality is mortality).

Hopefully you had yours "whipped out" in the "good old days" before the current "troubles" - - you really wanted to know that, didn't you!!


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yes I know it was strange. My surgeon has a term for it and I can't remember what it was. Something like "echo " pain. Also when he opened me up he said my appendix looked completely normal but there was a mass of pus around it as if my body was attacking it abnormally. They removed it laparoscopically and I was fine.they were extremely afraid I would get peritonitis because of the amount of pus even though it hadn't ruptured. I was lucky

Miffed ;-)