A relative is dying of cancer. She fell out of bed at home. Couldn’t get up or take care of herself. The only help her abusive husband could offer was a call to 911. EMTs took her to Kaiser.
Even without health insurance Kaiser gave her fantastic care, one that I understand Obamacare is modeled after.
The patient was in bad shape – stage 4 breast cancer that spread into her bones, liver, skull. Prior to hospitalization she developed a bedsore that Kaiser staff immediately started treating with a second-skin type paste. We later learned it’s the best medication available for bedsores.
She also had Sepsis, a blood infection, which required round-the-clock doses of penicillin.
She was depressed, disoriented, starving from lack of food, immobile, and we soon discovered filled with cancer.
Immediately, Kaiser started paperwork to apply for Medical insurance. They followed up with a resource contact person to help us sort thru the massive paperwork.
With the patient’s permission, Kaiser doctors biopsied the cancerous lump. The pathology report revealed the devastating picture of her prognosis – a few months to live. Only treatment: comfort care – meds that will allieviate pain and suffering.
Within a week (Tuesday), Kaiser released the patient to family care with a complete list of meds/dosage, description of med uses, emergency contact phone numbers, followup appointments with oncologist and outpatient GP, etc. She was given meds from the pharmacy to increase appetite, alleviate depression, combat nausea, heal the bedsore, and cartons of Boost to stave off starvation.
They inserted a pickline connecting the patient’s heart to ports on her arm. They’re used to administer doses of penicillin to continue treating sepsis. An RN showed me how to connect the port to a machine. A one-time-only Kaiser home care professional was sent to our house the next day to train me how to change the bag and clean the lines. They delivered meds to our home to cover a two week supply of penicillin. They also made sure we knew who to call if we needed help with the machine or meds. (The day after training, the trainer called to be sure I didn’t have problems changing the bag of penicilin or restarting the machine.)
On Friday morning the Kaiser pharmacy called to be sure we had all the penicillin, battery, medical lines needed to cover the weekend. And provided a 24-hour hotline number in case of emergency.
On Friday morning a Kaiser automated reminder call: the patient had a one-time-only appointment with a Kaiser out-patient doctor to remove the pickline.
On Friday again, a Kaiser automated reminder call: the patient had a one-time-only appointment with a Kaiser ocologist who would hand her case to another oncologist of her choosing.
The Kaiser hospice case worker assigned to the patient called to give us the number to call for non-Kaiser hospice care.
We had two days after release to call the doctor with additional questions. I called. She immediately returned my call, answered my questions and said her discharge nurse would call me back with instructions, and she did.
Kaiser is an innovative, high-tech machine that has not forgotten human in its equation. They overlook whether the patient is one of their own or not. They offer the same level of care, compassion and hope to the insured or non-insured. All patient information is computer databased. For all services all you need is your membership number.
If Kaiser is the Obamacare model sign me up today! and I’ll happily endorse that conversion.