Friday, November 28, 2008

One Evening on the Cape

In The Ointment

A funny thing happened to Teddy Kennedy just when --as fate would have it -- the rising sun for National Heal Care Reform was dawning. He had a seizure (a seizure is a convulsion, such as a young woman might have seconds after she succumbed and breathed in the water surrounding her trapped, un-rescued body).

It was last May, one night, at his 6-acre palatial Hyannisport compound in Cape Cod. No doubt it took time for those in the household to discriminate Teddy's behavior from a typical bout of inebriated drooling and lip chewing, but when he refused to sober-up, at some point, Teddy was whisked away to the Harvard Hospital System.

If Kennedy's treatment was similar to how other notables are cared for at top hospitals, then tens of thousands of dollars were spent in assuring security, privacy, and an expeditious round of diagnosis and treatment. No waiting in line. No semi-private room. No mistakes. The best doctors called in at all hours. The best, on call, all the time.

Once when Kennedy was hospitalized at a major institution in New York, they shut down a whole floor for him, at untold cost and inconvenience to many patients. No matter. After all, Ted Kennedy is not just anyone.

But you are just anyone. That will become important.

Kennedy undoubtedly had a STAT MRI or a noncontrast CT followed by an MRI,and was quickly diagnosed -- by the radiologist on duty -- as having a brain tumor. A biopsy the next day revealed a grim diagnosis with an equally grim prognosis: Glioblastoma Multiforme.

So Kennedy's quest for health care reform, just as it is rising to prominence in the current "change" environment may be a kingdom unseen by the long-fallen prince. Because a GBM is a rapidly fatal tumor with few treatment options.

What to do?

No comments: