Hey Shona, what if you had a REAL brain tumor?
Submitted by Dr. Prole on August 4, 2009 - 10:03am.
More specifically, what if you had 14 of them but your super-fantastic USian private health insurance refused to cover the cost of the treatment, and you were raising 2 teenagers on your own and have no way to pay it yourself? Oh yeah, hun, they'll let you die!
Shelly fought breast cancer and had been cancer-free nearly five years when, in April of 2009, she started feeling something like paralysis in the left side of her body. Medical tests showed the cancer had returned. It was on her back, one lung and, most alarming, in her brain.
The 14 tumors in her brain needed immediate attention. Specialists at UC San Francisco Medical Center recommended a procedure called gamma knife radiation, where the lesions are zapped with gamma rays and without knives.
Her doctors said without the surgery, she would die. But on the day of the procedure, her insurance carrier, Blue Shield, said it wouldn't pay the $60,000 tab.
Ohhh my, yes. It's a really awful thing to have a mythical government bureaucrat come between you and your doctor, isn't it? Much better when it's a completely, 100% real insurance company bureaucrat!
Blue Shield said it would pay instead for a less expensive treatment called whole-brain radiation, in which doctors try to kill tumors by exposing the entire brain to radiation. But Dr. Sneed said that wasn't the best option for Andrews-Buta.
"Gamma knife treatment works faster than whole-brain radiation in shrinking lesions," Sneed said. She believes Andrews-Buta's tumors are growing too quickly to be halted by the whole brain radiation.
Sneed is considered an expert on both procedures but said Blue Shield representatives didn't seem to want to listen to her opinion.
Bah, silly "brain cancer expert"! The insurance adjuster knows more than you about brain surgery. Just do the cheaper, less effective procedure, that way we can cut some dead weight from our roster (Get it? Because she'll be dead, har har!) and someone in the Blue Shield of CA office can get a bonus - guess who's buying the first round at TGI Fridays tonight!
My friends, if you're smart you'll be on the horn to your MPs and MLAs and demanding they keep these carrion eaters away from your healthcare system.
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