SERIES: Healthcare in America #39, Daniel Lugassy, MD, This Is the Bronx

by Daniel Lugassy, MD, May 4, 2019

BOUNCE-BACKS: AVOIDABLE CATASTROPHES

Take two of these, and call me in the morning. But only if you can afford them.

I am an Emergency Medicine doctor. I care for anything and everything that’s ailing you; from a life-threatening chest stabbing to a nasty tiny splinter on the bottom of your foot. It may surprise you, but I find treating these conditions equally exhilarating. I love diagnosing and treating patients who often struggle to describe the unexpected or sudden. Nobody makes an appointment to come to the Emergency Department (ED). We are here 24/7/365, whenever you need us.

When someone returns we often call this a “bounce-back”; it triggers us to dig deeper and ask; did we miss something or did a complication of the initial presenting condition develop. But, frustratingly and all too often, the reason for the patient “bouncing back” with an emergent condition seem to be completely preventable. Most of my patients are covered by some form of healthcare insurance. Sometimes I see them return to the ED because, as “good” as they believed their insurance to be, it wasn’t good enough. Here are three stories describing patients whose lives were endangered because financial obstacles prevented their getting prescribed care…

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