I’ve had a little sleep, so hopefully I’ll be able to manage a coherent post. Thanks, everyone, for not chastising me.
When I was a nurse in ICU, we did not take into consideration what sort of insurance or lack thereof our patients had when administering care. In fact, we almost never knew how our patients paid their bills; at one time, the mode of payment was printed on each patient label (eg, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance) and we were so outraged that the practice was immediately discontinued.
Everyone received the same treatment, regardless of financial circumstance. I’m sure our hospital (a privately owned, for-profit institution, BTW) would not discharge people in an extremely dangerous condition due to the risk of liability, although it’s very true that the trend in recent years has been to push for the shortest possible hospital stays.
Nevertheless, people with good insurance do tend to receive better care, overall, because these people have many more resources available to them.
Child mortality is closely tied with poverty, poor housing, etc. I’m reminded here of our neighbors who lived across the street in a duplex; they had three young children and lived in a decidedly unsafe and crowded little apartment. It had one room downstairs, and one room upstairs; the kids slept upstairs. Those kids played with our kids; their parents were wonderful people who were just plain poor. One year ago this month, the mom made the mistake of leaving her cleaning supplies a little too close to the floor furnace, and the home went up in flames.
My husband and I watched in horror as the firemen dragged the children out of the house. The first child was rescued by the father, who ran through the flames to carry him to safety. This boy was already in full arrest; he spent two months in ICU. I don’t know what permanent damage was done.
The second boy was retrieved by firefighters, CPR was begun at once, but he was declared dead at the hospital.
The third child, a little girl who was my daughter’s close friend, was pulled out of the inferno by a fireman. It was clear by the expression on his face and the rigid set of her body that she was already charred beyond hope. I can still hear her footsteps on my stairs and her voice echoing through my house.
I had nightmares about this for a long time and I probably will again, now that I’ve just relived it.
In my town, there is a sharp dichotomy between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. The large population of ‘have-nots’ and even many better-off people rely on their kitchen gas stoves to heat their homes, or they have ancient floor furnaces or space heaters. Most do not have working smoke detectors.
Many, many automobile fatalities could be reduced if everyone used car seats and seatbelts for their children, and if these were used properly. One factor in child mortality the link mentioned was large family size. If you have six kids and one vehicle, there is no way in the world you can seat-belt them all properly.
I would be interested in seeing a breakdown of those statistics: how many children die of gunshot wounds vs fires vs child abuse vs drownings, etc.