Dr. Robert Stone, a physician in the Bloomington Hospital emergency room, recently treated a man in his 50s who had suffered from a heart attack. The man had felt chest pains days before, but he didn't immediately seek a doctor. He was more concerned about money than taking care of his heart.
"By the time he came in, he had already suffered considerable damage," Stone said.
Stone's patient is just one of the 45 million Americans who go without health insurance each year and who suffer from drastically worse health as a result.
The local physician drew attention to the effects of the nation's insurance gap with a speech at the Monroe County Public Library May 3 as part of National Cover the Uninsured Week.
Bloomington's medical community has a long and (generally) entertaining history of providing area residents with an ongoing real-life hospital soap opera. Years, even decades, of this 24-hour serial have titillated and amused us with plotlines involving strong characters, shady real estate deals, backroom eminence grise machinations, and youthful quests for power, prestige, and fortune. Oh, and let's not forget the boilerplate of any successful soap opera: the deep personality conflicts, individual agendas, and all-too-human vendettas.
Bloomington's real-life hospital soap opera usually puts on a decent show. But recently things have been so good with the quality of the writing, the depth of the characters involved, and the intensity that I believe we must be in the middle of sweeps week. What the heck am I talking about? Put your hair in curlers, grab the ironing, pour yourself a late-morning Bloody Mary and tune in to this week's CIVITAS to find out. Oh, don't worry, I promise to finish the episode before the cable guy shows up.