October 28th, 2009 / 9:32 am
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I’m a nurse, and I’ve seen the worst the system has to offer.
I remember Jim. He had worked all his life in a factory in Zeeland, Michigan. The latest round of layoffs had left him without insurance or savings.
Jim had an infection throughout his body that was serious, but treatable. After a few days, the billing department made their way to his room to discuss options with him.
The hospital was by no means telling him he had to go. Several doctors spoke with him about the severity of his infection. But after seeing an estimate of his bill, Jim left.
One week later, he died of an infection that could have been treated.
With 47 million Americans lacking health insurance, the stories add up.
Cicily Janus, former web editor for Opium, and author of two forthcoming books- Sick and Tired: An Oral History of America’s Health Care War and The New Face of Jazz, also fries a mean piece of chicken.