Friday, May 05, 2006

Taxpayer Dollars at Work

An e-mail sent to Jerry Pournelle and posted on his web site. I have nothing to add.

Dr. Pournelle I was doing triage on Saturday in an ER in the Southwest. I saw a young lady who was complaining of abdominal pain, sweating and chills. Upon further investigation I learned that she had missed her methadone dose on Friday because she had to go to the hospital to bring home her daughter who was discharged from the neonatal ICU after a three week stay.

So the young lady probably wasn't ill.. she was in withdrawal from opiates. I told her that the ER physician could probably write her a script for a single dose of methadone that she could get filled at a pharmacy and that would hold her over until her next regular visit to the methadone clinic. She then became mildly indignant at this suggestion because a dose of methadone at a pharmacy would cost at least eight dollars and she didn't think that Medicaid would pay for it.

Let us Review:

1. She is hooked on opiates, which judging from her gang tattoos the addiction probably originated in illicit drug use.

2. She just produced (at tax payer expense) a child which had to spend three weeks in NICU (at tax payer expense) withdrawing from opiates.

3. She is now outraged that her taxpayer funded ER visit (caused by her own inability to manage to fit in a fifteen minute detour to the methadone clinic the day before) may cause her to spend a entire eight dollars out of her pocket to stop her withdrawal symptoms.

There is a bright side to this though... the Federal Government may be able to re-coup about two days (~$1500/day) of NICU treatment for a her addicted child by sending bill collectors after Army specialist Tyson Johnson who failed to repay his re-enlistment bonus after losing his kidney in Iraq.

Your Government and Tax dollars at work.....

Steve (an ER nurse in the Southwest)


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