Cut your medical bills and cut the potential pain


A layman approach


This is about my recent experience with medical field. I am not a doctor, or anybody related to health system, however I have sufficient knowledge to do a little in-depth research to reach a wise decision at times when there seems to be too much of a noise.

My brother hurt his hand working in a restaurant, slipped on the floor and tore his ligament on his hands. The X-rays showed not much of damages on his hands. He recovered in some months. One day, as he was working in the kitchen, he started having sharp pain in his hand. He could not do much work after that. We went to the doctor, and the doctor made new X-rays of his hand, and then finally found that there is a small damage on his ligament. The suggested for a surgery. It was a private hospital.

The estimated cost reached to 2000 USD despite the fact that the doctor could not tell if surgeries were effective in previous cases. Those who go under surgery recovered on average in 5–8 years. That was a red flag to me. So, I took my brother to a Cancer hospital where there was an Orthopedic Unit. The doctor checked the reports and told my brother not to lift heavy things for some months, and asked him to go under physiotherapy because he told us that a surgery is not going to help. The surgery could only make things complicated and would take much time to heal. So he dismissed the idea of surgery as it was not going to help, and just asked my brother to take some rest and do light exercise. The hospital was a community cancer hospital, helping patients is their motive than making it a business. There my brother saved 2000 USD and also saved himself from unnecessary pain. A little medical window-shopping helps in my country.

My wife had a major surgery too. The doctor told me that she might need to be put under General Anesthesia and she’d be unaware of her surgeons working on her issue and she’d be fine after some hours. The anesthesia required her to come empty stomach, and also do some preliminary tests before they would actually do the anesthesia. Usually her kind of surgery is done on local anesthesia, but the doctor was doubtful that my wife could take the pain as she is scared of the knives and needles. Then I told my wife to be brave and face the surgery under local anesthesia, because a general anesthesia would put her in lot of pain as she’d not be able to walk home properly the same-day surgery would be done. The anesthesia is given intravenously hence she would also have a painful spot on her hand for quite some days. These all could be bypassed with a little courage. Finally comes the price, the surgery under local anesthesia cost 3 times less than that on general anesthesia. This seemed like a very good decision to show a little bravery and then prevent post-surgical pain. So the surgery was done on a local anesthesia. The surgery was complete in an hour, and she could walk home in 30 minutes after the surgery. We saved time, we saved her from further pain, and we also saved some money. Sometimes, you got to take brave decision weighing everything. The risk associated with General Anesthesia is actually bigger than that of surgery under local anesthesia.

Steps to make better health decisions while consulting to a doctor:

Assess your condition. Know what has happened to you clearly. Talk to your doctor about it, and ask everything you need to know because it is your body and it is your right to know.
Listen to your Doctor. If he knows your condition exactly, and offers a clear and unbiased advice for further engagement, do trust him, but a little window-shopping does not hurt. Know if you are in Private Hospital or a Public one. I can tell you that there is probably some medical politics in your private hospital. Private hospitals do not run on donations , and their model is oriented towards profit.
Go home, make a detailed research. I am not asking you to doubt on your doctor, but at least try to learn what is happening to you and what are the available options in your location, or where better options lie.
Do not go under surgery unless it sounds absolutely necessary. Sometimes it is better not to invite more trouble to amend little trouble.

How to cut the medical noise?

Don’t rely too much on internet and people’s opinions because cases can be different even under same disease.
Don’t believe in hearsays , do your own research.
Don’t buy what pharmaceuticals claim, research about the drug you’re taking and seek if any anomalies are there in the drugs you use or if the drug is banned already in some countries around the world. It happens sometimes that you might be using the same drug even if some drugs have been already banned recently. Update your knowledge base each time you take a drug. This is a very sensible thing to do because banning a drug takes time to take place into effect in many locations and not everyone can be updated like machines, it takes considerable time.
Don’t use buy medicines whose names are not disclosed. I was once given some tablets for my flue, but I did not know the name but it did heal my flue. I was uninformed and careless back them, I have to admit.

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