Medical System Rant and Response

AuthorJeremy Mayer,Shanaz Ahmed,E. Gilliam,James Hager,Claudia Chaufan,Bonnie Stabile,Douglas Anderson
Published date01 March 2016
Date01 March 2016
Medical System Rant and Response
This commentary features a brief description of a frustrating medical experience by a U.S. patient,
with responses offered by several experts from various perspectives of the healthcare system.
Jeremy Mayer, E. Gilliam, Bonnie Stabile, Shanaz Ahmed, Douglas Anderson,
Claudia Chaufan, and James Hager
While policy experts debate health-care models, citizens experience symptoms that cast them in the
role of patient, often with frustrating results. The following is the rant of one such patient in the
United States. The physical symptoms she describes have proven elusive to diagnosis thus far; of
interest to us here, though, is diagnosing the systemic factors that led to those results. We’re asking
several experts to respond by 1) identifying what, in their view, led to the health-care outcomes
described, and 2) outlining some policy prescriptions to enhance the delivery of care, with the goal
of achieving more satisfactory outcomes.
KEY WORDS: health-care delivery, patient frustration, emergency room care
The Rant
As Expressed by E. Gilliam, Who Lives and Works in Communications in the
San Francisco Bay Area
I’m a 45-year-old female who recently began high blood pressure medication,
with no other history of heart problems, though I do have an extensive family
history full of them. I swim, play racquetball, and walk a lot; I averaged 12 miles a
day on my recent trip to England. I went on my annual rafting trip down a Class
III river a week later. It was really hot, and I may have gotten a little dehydrated.
But I was perfectly hydrated when I was at my desk 2 days later, and got a
crushing pain in my chest along with shortness of breath. This started a 2-week
journey that included visits to three ERs and more tests of things than I thought
could possibly BE tested, and ended with a complete and utter lack of diagnosis.
As the medical bills start rolling in, I am ready to rant. The reason I don’t
have a diagnosis is because I was admitted to the hospital for suspected cardiac
problems. When it was discovered that there were no cardiac problems, even
though I was in the most respected hospital for pulmonology, and it’s where
World Medical & Health Policy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2016
1948-4682 #2016 Policy Studies Organization
Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ.

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