Choosing People or Profits?
In Alameda County California, a private hospital turned away a woman in labor because the hospital's computer showed that she didn't have insurance. Hours later, her baby was born dead in a county hospital, because the woman was sent to a county hospital and it was too late to save the unborn child.
In San Bernardino California, a trauma surgeon sent a patient who had been stabbed in the heart to a county medical center after examining him and declaring his condition stable. The patient arrived at the county medical center dying; he suffered a cardiac arrest, and died. These two hospitals shifted these patients to county facilities not for medical reasons, but for economic ones -- the receiving hospitals feared they wouldn't be paid for treating the patient. What's right? Choosing people or profit?
Should there be death or tragedy at the result of poverty and high health care costs, or should a business such as a hospital lose millions everyday to give health care to those who can't afford it? An average person like me would feel for the person who could not afford sufficient health insurance, and as in the case above, the baby inside that mother's womb didn't choose its financial situation, or its parents.
That baby didn't ask to be born, and it wasn't given a chance to live. It wasn't necessarily the doctor's fault, and it wasn't even his or her decision, because of business. Business has moved to the heart of health care, a place once relatively cushioned from the pursuit of profit that drives the rest of the U.S. economy. Throughout the history of the United States, medical institutions have largely been non-profit establishments existing primarily to serve the community. But during the past 20 years, the...