Drive-Through Care

by , posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 10:51 am

I received an e-mail this morning from a friend who is a breast-cancer survivor and a person I admire beyond my ability to describe. She requested that I sign a petition to help stop drive-through mastectomy.

The text of the e-mail is copied below – please follow the link and sign the petition. This sort of “cost control” is inhumane – and a prime example of why we – the wealthiest nation on earth – rank 37th in health care, well after much poorer nations like Morocco, Costa Rica, and Columbia and certainly after every single other industrialized nation. And it isn’t me who says so – it’s WHO.

The e-mail:

From a nurse:

I’ll never forget the look in my patients’ eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the Doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies. So there I sat with my patients, giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn’t grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet ‘Thank You’ they muttered. A mastectomy is when a woman’s breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a Mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let’s give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.

It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important. Please take the time and do it! Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times.

If you’re receiving this, it’s because I think you will take the 30 seconds to vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the same. There’s a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It’s about eliminating the ‘drive-through’ Mastectomy where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their Web page with a petition drive to show support. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE!! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name, state, and zip code.

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This takes about 2 seconds.

Eh, I am not so respectful of your time as my friend – I want more than 2 seconds. I want a lot more. I want you engaged in the fight of our lives, for our lives, and for the lives of our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens.

Because as long as we, as a nation, continue to give insurance companies the authority to ration our health care, signing petitions offered by places like Lifetime Television begging for the simple basics of humane care will be a way of life for Americans. And that’s just for the four out of five American between 18 and 65 who are “lucky” enough to have health insurance to begin with.

So sign the petition, yes, but also go here, do your homework, and learn how to be an advocate for real reform of the profit-margin driven debacle that passes for health care in the United States. Because this problem isn’t limited to breast cancer or any one disease or any one victim of the insurance industry – it’s systemic.

Not to mention brutal and uncivilized. We are better than this.


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