Let me show you the ‘other side’ of health care

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Obamacare. Romneycare. Medicare. Healthcare. We are all sick and tired of hearing about the cost, challenges and future of medicine in this country. Because it is a big campaign issue this year, we are getting the opportunity to hear the ads from our presidential candidates. Thank goodness Georgia isn’t a swing state or I would pull the plug on my TV.

However, there is an amazing amount of our healthcare that is positive. We often don’t know how fortunate we are until misfortune hits us in the face. At that point, you are willing to pay whatever it takes for the medical care that you so desperately need.

My extended family has had several people in the hospital over the past month, for a variety of reasons. In almost every case the care was very good. In the case of my mother, who suffered a compound fracture of her left leg and ankle, the care was extraordinary.

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I hesitate to mention specific facilities, because they don’t necessarily reflect the good and bad of our system in general. However, if I am going to talk about my Mom’s particular case, there isn’t any other way than to talk about two specific providers. For those reading, I believe this to be the norm rather than the exception.

Bay Medical Center in Panama City has consistently been one of the top 50 hospitals in the United States. Their new wing, which happens to house the orthopedic wing, is one of the most impressive facilities I have ever seen. From top to bottom, their doctors, nurses, and aides were friendly, concerned and knowledgeable.

Emerald Coast Hospital is part of the HealthSouth system of rehabilitation facilities spread across the country. They were named the top hospital out of their 97 locations in 2011. I can honestly see why.

This is a place with a lot of bad stories. From strokes to broken bones, these are people struggling to get their lives back in order. Most are older as you might expect, but there are young people that have had catastrophic injuries as well.

People on every level, mostly younger people, seemed so genuinely concerned about their patients. The many hugs given to my mother as she exited after 23 days were heartfelt, in both directions.

I am glad to have had the opportunity over the past month to look at healthcare from a different angle. At this particular moment, I am not so concerned about who will pay the next bill. I just want to give my highest tribute to those that choose to make helping others there life’s calling.

From the doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff that made my mother’s life bearable, thank you. For those that have looked after my own family, including my own neighboring doctors, thank you as well.

You are the best of what American health care is all about.