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HMO Shuns Diagnostic Test; Patient Nearly Dies of Pulmonary Embolism 

On April 10, 1996 I went to my HMO hospital with severe swelling in my right calf. I was told it was "just a muscle strain." Eight days later I returned as the pain and swelling had not subsided. I was given Motrin for the pain, and told to go home. Down the hall from the doctor's office was the imaging department where a scan was available that would have told the physician that I had a two foot long clot in my leg, waiting to kill me. On May 23, I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism (clot in the lung ) that had originated in my right calf! 

When all the medical information was made available to me, I couldn't believe the mess I was in. How could something as simple to diagnose as a leg thrombosis be left unattended, to the point that I came within minutes of dying from a pulmonary embolism? Five months trying to recuperate. A daily regime of Coumadin, with its side effects of bleeding nose, minor cuts that bleed for hours, constant dizziness, nausea and fatigue. These are the physical symptoms; worse is the psychological trauma that comes with total loss of faith in the health care system. Terror possesses the human consciousness when one loses faith in a system that has been created to protect him. 

I've changed doctors 3 times since I had my embolism. What about the new symptoms that have appeared? The new doctor told me my extreme dizziness was probably due to a neck strain. Another doctor told me that it might be labyrinthitis. These aren't second opinions that stem from a diagnosis; these are medical gobbledygook terms generated by the same incentive: bonus money. I know I'm being lied to so they can split the bonus money at the end of the month. Why don't they check me out? I go seeking a doctor I can trust, but who? I'm scared. All of them are on the same payroll. 

Who wants to die because life-saving treatment was withheld? Who amongst us is this hero who wants to end it all so Dr. A, Dr. B, and the HMO can make a few more bucks at the end of the month? "How much did you make," I asked the doctor, "by not giving me treatment when I needed it?". Hospitals have become corporate entities. Doctors have become corporate participants in the corporate agenda. I was terror struck when I realized what was in store for me. I felt sure I wouldn't make it, that I would die, not because it was time to die, but because I would cost them more money than I am worth. 

What happened to the Hippocratic oath? "...And abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous to the patient..." was meant to stop the doctor from killing you, but Hippocrates was not able to foresee the development of the corporation and its lack of a human ethic. The corporate oath is dedicated to its stockholders; its duty is to uphold the laws that govern corporations. 

Medical terrorism is a reality. Closing your eyes and hoping it's all a bad dream won't help. We are all standing in line. I became subject to their terror today; it will be your turn tomorrow. In other words, it's cheaper to bury you than it is to treat you.