Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Nurse Practitioner Asks "Can You Afford To Die?"

I have been busy seeing patients at the new office and am finding rural health very challenging. Some of my patients are reporting chest pain and are in the population with the highest risk of heart attack. We offer sliding scale fee for those who don't have insurance. This helps get people into the office but what happens after they report the chest pain? I tell them that they need to be evaluated with a stress test.
Here's how it usually goes....

I'll have to wait and see what happens or go to the Emergency Room if I have chest pain that won't go away.

"You need to understand the risk of sudden death if you don't evaluate the reason for the chest pain, right?"

Sure... but you know how it is. I have to put food on the table and pay the bills. I can't afford to have a stress test.

"What will happen to your family if you pass away or become permanently disabled with a stroke? What about burial expenses?"

"Can you afford to die?"

Scary huh?

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