Saturday, March 18, 2017

Irish Healthcare Public/Private divide totally unworkable for the sick in Ireland

over two weeks ago i became very unwell.
an ambulance took me to a public hospital after uncontrollable vomiting and pain and far more.
seven hours later i had not seen a doctor, my twin was brought in by her neighbour as i lay in agony alone in a back room of the A'E department.   It was now well after midnight.
A drip was put up soon after and i do not know what was in it, but i seemed then to ease in pain anyway. No scans were done to determine if i had a crohns blockage, or a tear or rupture or bleed or whatever.
my twin stayed a short while and got a taxi home, we have to remember she is very unwell too.
i lay there all night, and as soon as day broke i was told i could go home.
this is astonishing as i was so unwell the previous night and had not yet seen either my own consultant at the hospital nor an A'E consultant.
i was pressurized to leave so at 7am i had to literally take up my blankie and pillow and get myself to the front doors and go home by taxi.
not even a cup of tea was given and i had been vomiting at 5pm the previous night for at least an hour or more.

I struggled at home for a week.  the story of that is in another blog previous to this.
i struggled staying with my twin until unfortunately i had to again at day break get into my own adapted van and drive to a private hospital with my wheelchair in the back.
i have and still do have a lovely consultant i no longer can afford to attend who will be able to facilitate me getting into an actual hospital in ireland for care but that is all really.
i was admitted and spent two weeks very ill indeed and on three different drips.
on returning home i am failing to recover to my ordinary self.
i am in a lot of pain and also have gut issues still, and i am concerned.

in this period my twin became unwell.
she developed a very bad cold and was getting so unwell i suggested that i would drive her to this same private hospital, at least it would not be so chaotic as the public and i felt sure she would be admitted.
she wasn't able to sustain being at home with all this.  For many a head cold or flu is surmountable, for a person with a rare and complex disease process with co-morbid conditions its a nightmare to transcend the slightest  of setback.

we also have little support in the community for these times, the only one on offer for me was to go into a nursing home for a full week and this would have cost the tax payer over 2k at least.  they were offering me a private nursing home in my own village when i was to be discharged.
i needed a few hours help each day to recuperate sufficiently, not 24/7 oversight for another week a sniffing distance from my own home.

My twin arrived at the A'E (ED) Private, and i had to leave her there as i was not well enough to stay with her, i was going to my own GP with retaining issues after my own inpatient stay a short while ago.
 I was getting physio that day during which i got a call from her to say she was being let home!

i was aghast!
i rang back but she is very deaf and i wanted her to urge the team to keep her in, she was far too unwell to come home.

the physiotherapist tried to contact her but we could not get an answer. He too wasn't that happy she be sent home.

When she came home, she had now coughed up (excuse the pun) over 500e in expenses for tests at this Private hospital.
with a spot detected on lung x-rays and swollen lower legs, she now was to go home!!!

NO, she didn't get better and got increasingly unable to cope.

Again, she lives alone and by this time i had also developed her cold and still had the pain and hang-ons from my own health issues that saw me hospitalised only a few weeks before.

night after night my twin struggled horribly, both of us up all night sick, unsupported and isolated against the whole world in sickness, without a person to turn to in this state.
she managed to contact her GP today and she/he advised that she go back to the Private hospital and say she is too unwell to be at home.
i drove her back up, i am now getting more and more sick with the same issues she has.
she was brought into a cubicle and a registrar,  i think, wanted to do the full blast of tests on her to determine her health status.
we both in our distress told him that she had a myriad of tests only a few days previous to today  and it had cost her 500e.

he apologised but said he would have to do the tests again!
both of us got profoundly upset and distressed at this bizarre forking out of now 1k for tests when she should never have been sent home in the first place.

this caused both of us to become shattered and beyond richter scale stressed.

we did ring an older sister who announced 'Extortion!'
i felt that too.
i suggested my twin ring the Insurance company for clarification.  we both now were on our knees.
thank god a nurse came in and announced she was being kept in.
we didn't need that patch of distress.

how do you tell the Irish doctor base we are NOT simple patients that can withstand the usual slings and arrows of health crisis?   
Certainly i was sent home and within a week was sicker by far and a new disease process had now been added to my mounting 'sick disease stamp book collection.'
This happened my twin
It's a madness that we have a system that you cannot be kept in a hospital in a public bed because you are a public patient and the new gold is to get those with insurance to pay through the nose for the bed in the public hospitals to the horror of the people of Ireland and also it is driving the Insurances up so terribly more and more are leaving that cos they cannot afford it, so now we have the added strain of public patients on stream due to a very unworkable divide.

You cannot get public healh care - really anymore, and we have had the whole thing played out on - 'waiting on the trolley list' of a documentary RTE did recently - a horrific tale of tragedy,  a dangerous system and people being left too long endangering their lives, the future and death has occurred in this melee.

you can pay over two thousand euros for private healthcare but then what if you have NO disposable cash and are entitled to a bed if very ill to be covered by insurance but yet when you go to a private hospital they take 500e and send you home!
then they ask for the same amount when you have to go back even worse.
finally you are in that precious bed and everyone is weary.

This is turning into a nightmare.

we also have the chaotic primary care system.  without anyone to keep two women healthy in all regards we remain of of sound mind and sparky but such a system has left these two lovely women suffer horrendously.

its unworkable at present.

this sick individual cannot care for my twin sister who is also sick and vis versa.

we both are entitled to healthcare under both Irish systems.  Public and Private.
we are also entitled to care in the community but are not getting it.

the answer to everyone is - you cannot manage you need to be in a nursing home.

Abuse stories within these awful institutions are daily reported in the media, and we have an agenda through agreed policy to get disabled people out into the community where they should be and not in the nursing homes.

On the one hand they want us disabled to be cared for in the community (we are not).
 they promote the social model of care (they are not using it but completely and utterly abide by the old model, the medical one).
you cannot get into a public hospital and be cared for.
you cannot get into a private one either.
where the hell do they want us to be???

i am not going into an abusive institutionalised system where once i worked as a volunteer bringing 'arts & empowerment' to the elderly corralled there against their wishes but dumped by uncaring families.
I am not going into a system where daily we hear of the abuse, even the last nursing home i was working in has recently hit the headlines for its abject abandonment of the elderly to no more than the daily 'catholic Mass' and sitting aimlessly the rest of the day waiting for probably a tasteless lunch and dinner and bed early and no escape from this tedium, boredom and depression.

HOw do i actually afford Private healthcare?
I can ONLY afford the policy, i cannot go privately as i have no disposable cash.
I can ONLY use it if the consultant takes me into the hospital as an inpatient.

How do i afford the Private insurance of over 2k yearly -well recently i sold a painting i had inherited that was my parents wedding present from a minor RHA.
it recouped the sum of 710e and that still is way short of 2k.
i have three other far smaller paintings by the same artist, so i am not hopeful i will have the funds for the Private health insurance this year.

this irish healthcare system is totally unworkable.  you be damned one way or the other.
phone call from my twin, she is still in ED waiting to get to a bed.
sick, i am.

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