A Million-Dollar Patient

This is what happens when the government ignores Dr. Jeffrey Brenner:

For more than two decades, Wanda Remo has battled one illness after another. Asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, chronic pain, strokes. Specialists treat her lungs, her heart and her joints.

Her litany of ailments brought her to emergency rooms six times last year, between numerous additional visits to a federally subsidized health clinic in South Los Angeles.

“You are one of the million-dollar patients,” her doctor, Derrick Butler, tells the 57-year-old as she leans on her walker during one appointment. (LA Times)

Comments (11)

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  1. Studebaker says:

    I believe in having a health care safety net for people who cannot afford care. However, when it comes to providing indigent care, I don’t believe society owes anyone $1 million in free care. For one thing, Wanda Remo could (at least in theory) live another 20 years and consume another $5 million — maybe $10 million — in indigent care. Forgetting for a moment these are probably list prices and not the actual cost of care. However, how much care does society owe those who cannot care for themselves? I believe this is something that should be discussed and codified. As a society, we cannot afford to give all poor people a $1 million home. Neither can we afford to give them $1 million in free care.

  2. Stich says:

    “You are one of the million-dollar patients”

    - I believe they mean that she spends a lot of time in an ER.

  3. Harley says:

    Don’t forget to add in her lost economic value for being chronically ill, and of course the time which is not spent on other patients, decreasing quality of care.

    But! She voted for Obama, so I’m sure the medi-Cal IPABs will take pity on her.

  4. Joe Barnett says:

    No wonder she’s depressed!

  5. Jack says:

    She looks a little like Sweet Brown.
    “I got the bronchitis! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

    Care1st assigned her an independent case manager. It’s very likely she’s close to a million dollars.

  6. Xel'Naga says:

    I do feel bad for her, it is not like she wanted to be sick. Most of her ailments are due to genetic factors. Surely, we can judge her on that.

  7. Huda says:

    I don’t think she is a million dollar patient, its a million dollar treatment, and I don’t think she is in the best state either. This underscores how the service, supply side is messed up.

  8. Wasif says:

    To what extent do you think one ailment lead to the next, additionally, I feel a medication used to treat one ailment had side-effects that gave rise to other new health problems.

  9. Nora says:

    Cases like this highlight why health care is so complex to fix, ethics and morality certainly come into play here.

  10. Yo Yo Ma says:

    First world problem! Hopefully the developing world can learn how to avoid the hot mess of a health care we have here in America.

  11. Erik says:

    As a young man I did Ct Scans at St John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. We had a young man, a teenager, who was in an auto accident that was not his fault and literally broke every bone in his body. No one expected him to live. But an anti-gravity bed, good care, and months in the hospital this young man survived. He too was a million dollar patient. His life was worth every penny.

    Never give up hope and always help those in need.