Not only do I still owe approximately $33,000 from last year's emergency room treatment (including $1000 for the ambulance ride), I was misdiagnosed -- possibly on purpose, to avoid surgery. Who knows? All I know is, life without health insurance is a very risky proposition, and that fact that Mitt Romney doesn't even seem to know why it is tells me that he either has the worst memory in the world (you'd have to think he was at least aware of these problems when he was a governor working on on his health care plan) or that he simply doesn't care about health care for the uninsured. Either way, it's not very flattering. I wonder if he could at least be interested enough to watch this documentary:
Eric Morgan, in his 20s and planning to get married, arrives at Highland Hospital's emergency room, shaken that he has been diagnosed with a testicular tumor that is likely cancer.
Surgeons at a private hospital have turned him away for lack of insurance but tell him it's "urgent" he get care.
Demia Bruce -- out of work for a year -- anxiously waits in the same ER with his 5-year-old daughter, her face swollen and burning with fever.
Carl Connelly has overdosed on drugs and alcohol, and Davelo Lujuan can't bear the pain of his spinal bone spurs. They, too, wait.
A provocative new documentary, "The Waiting Room," is a snapshot of Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., one of the nation's busiest safety-net hospitals, which is stretched to the limit with 241 patients a day, mostly uninsured, who need medical care they can't afford.
The film, directed by Peter Nicks and getting Oscar buzz, opens at the IFC Center in New York City on Wednesday, Sept. 26 and in the greater Los Angeles area at Laemmle Theaters in Santa Monica, Pasadena and Claremont on Friday, Sept. 28, before showing around the country. "The Waiting Room" will also be aired by PBS in 2013.
Nicks follows 24 hours in the lives of artists, small business owners, factory workers and unemployed parents who have been hit hard by the economy -- and hit harder still by a healthcare system that has left them out.
"Bring your breakfast, lunch and dinner -- everything honey," an African-American patient who has been waiting for days to see a doctor, tells a new arrival.
They take a number and they wait, sometimes coming back two or three days in a row. It might be months before they can get a doctor's appointment. With only one operating room, the most urgent cases go first and the rest wait. A man with a survivable gunshot wound has waited two days to be seen.
"It is the place of last resort," said Nicks, 44, whose wife is a speech therapist at Highland Hospital and came home with stories of patients' troubled lives.