Posted On: Tuesday - October 10th 2017 6:06AM MST
In Topics:   China  Economics  Liberty/Libertarianism  Healthcare Stupidity
In the previous post, besides an introduction and explanation of the difference between scientific/engineering and economic changes in healthcare , Peak Stupidity discussed the changes from a free market American system to the cluster-fuck we endure now. We will continue now with our flip-flops-on-the-ground report from China.
Firstly we have Chinese family member, so that's why we were in China, in the first place, and that's where I get some detail that I could not have being a non-speaker/listener of this difficult language. Secondly, I want to emphasize, for those who will balk at reading the truth of this report, that we were NOT in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Peking, Chengdu, Tianjin, or ANY of the 1st tier huge modern cities. We were not in a 2nd tier city like Wuhan either. No, the province is like the W. Virginia of China (no slight to W.Va, just that it's remote, mountainous, and hard to get to.) and the city was of a size such that it would not be known by CHINESE people who either weren't big into geography or lived in that or neighboring provinces. So, please don't think this example is not typical - it most likely is typical of non-1st-class treatment.
Thirdly, as part of this intro., before you read on, keep in mind that no, this was not Cold-War era China or Cuba ("oh, they may be poor and starving, but they've got the BEST healthcare in the world!"). It wasn't Soviet-Russia-like, where the visitors get shown all the nice stuff that the proles never get to touch. This is 2017, not 1985. We got the treatment that anyone else would, as right now, the Chinese have no particular respect for Americans (I can't wholly blame them) and also, I hung back and didn't really relate to any of the staff anyway.
We came in for one of the kids that had a scary-looking skin rash, though we were pretty sure we knew what it was from. As we followed the relatives around the place, I could see that things were Chinese-style chaotic (more on this!) but still efficient. Things just got done there. Upon talking to one of the nurses or just clerk-types up front, we were told we'd see a dermatologist in a short while. Nope, not, "Go home, and expect a call to set up an appointment next week", or even "fill out this clipboard full of forms and we'll call you back up" (more on the business end later). You just find your way through the hospital, which doesn't look a whole lot different from an American one except it's not organized like a prison, as we have here.
We waited 10 minutes, and then went in to see the lady doctor. I'll say right now, and after we discussed this after the fact, I don't think these doctors have nearly the book knowledge of an American-trained doctor. However, experience-wise, they see way over 100 patients a day, not just 20 or so. This has a lot to do with our bureaucracy in addition to our lawyer-caused cover-you-ass treatment that is extremely pervasive, per my conversation with an American doctor friend. I would imagine the Chinese doctors there get pretty familiar with their craft, and this lady was fairly cautious too, on the one thing we had to discuss. This being China, as we talked to the Doc, IN HER OFFICE, a Chinese Mom with her kid went right up in front of our chairs saying something in Chinese like "Hey, my kid has this, take a look over here ..." Haha, they are a pushy bunch; that's all there is to it. This was right in the office in the middle of our consultation, but the lady Doc took this in stride as she and 2 others told the Mom in Chinese something like "Hey, wait your turn; ever heard of waiting in line?!" No, it couldn't have been that, as they HAVE NEVER heard of waiting in line, I don't think!
15 minutes of quality time with the Dermatologist later, and we sat around for about 20 minutes waiting for a blood test. What I noticed, back to the prison reference, is the hospital was more wide-open and just easy-going. Sure it could be bad for some patients, but possibly they use common sense there and try to secure an area for the worrisome ones. I saw a guy go downstairs and outside to smoke a cigarette in the courtyard. "Aren't those patient clothes?", I asked. "Yeah." Whoa, freedom, I like it. Then after 3 times of a lady haulking a loogie* into the trash can nearby, I remarked "Hey, a nurse would get in trouble for doing that at home." "She's not a nurse. That's one of the doctors." Haha!
OK, the kid got blood drawn, then we waited another 1/2 hour or so for the results. No recommendation for coming back, and besides 2 short-term medications we weren't told what to do. What a concept!! Other than the consultation and testing, let's let the parents decide what to do next. Everything got done in about 2 hours. We then went back downstairs to pay for everything, as we had gotten small billing slips at about each step. Grand total 125 RMB or so, about 20 bucks. Sure, the whole deal was some trouble but very pleasant and easy-going compared to the stress I get even going in to an American doctor's office or hospital.
Besides just remarking on our fee, I have not gotten into the economic aspect of current Chinese healthcare, except from the usability side. That will be part 3, an explanation of the Chinese system from personal/family knowledge, along with a comparison to current era American healthcare stupidity.
* Yes, it's kind of a Chinese thing, but really, as polluted as a lot of cities are, you're going to want to expectorate once in a while - lots healthier than keeping that crap inside. So, Kudos on the spitting! Good on ya!