We called the medical aid, who insisted that we pay more than R8,000 before the tests could be done.
Dear reader, I want to give you a tip that is vital to make your life bearable: avoid hospitals at all costs! I spent most of yesterday in one, and it was terrible.
The lovely Snapdragon phoned yesterday morning and told me she was in a serious accident. I was on my way to work, but made an about-turn immediately. Fifteen minutes later I saw the flashing lights which indicated the spot where the four participants in a collision were standing.
It was clear what had happened – a car bumped into the back of Snapdragon at a traffic light. She was pushed forward and removed the bumper from a vehicle, which in turn cannoned into a fourth car.
I couldn’t find Snapdragon in the crowd of paramedics and a dozen or so tow-truck drivers who were trying to coax accident victims into their webs – like a creepy old man with a bag of sweets.
Eventually I found her in an ambulance with impressive red cushioning strapped to her head. At the hospital, a doctor ordered X-rays, a cat scan and several other precautionary procedures, including a pregnancy test.
We called the medical aid, who insisted that we pay more than R8,000 before the tests could be done. This was when I realised Snapdragon survived the accident unscathed and was, under the cushioning, her old self. She shouted at the medical aid, refused to have tests done and gave me a tongue lashing for eating a cafeteria pie.
The doctor settled for a few small tests, including the X-rays, which showed nothing was broken. We left with an uneasy feeling that hospitals have a built-in policy of revenue generation.
I have criticised the public healthcare system often. But we tend to forget the private system’s tendency to squeeze every available cent out of patients. The entire industry – from the ambulance services to the coffee shop who sold me the (tasty) pie, is built around the dream of income.
As a matter of fact, in comparison the tow-truck drivers can learn a thing or two from them.
Would I rather go to a public hospital if I make an accident? Of course not. But I would certainly choose a second crash above any hospital at all. Or medical aids. Or ambulances …
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