Is American healthcare the best in the world? Here is Charles Peters, founder of Washington Monthly, quoting a physician friend who is unhappy about the shortness of his hospital stay after hip surgery:
“Ten years ago, the standard admission for a hip replacement was a seven-to-ten day affair with inpatient physical therapy twice a day throughout the admission. But it isn’t just hips.
In the early 1990s if you had a gall bladder removed you stayed in the hospital eight days. Now if you have your gall bladder removed at eight in the morning, you are sent home at noon. Ten years ago, open heart surgery meant a minimum of ten days in the hospital; now, if you have a mitral or aortic valve replaced, you are sent home on day four. If you hve breast cancer and a mastectomy to be followed by outpatient chemotherapy and radiation, you are home within eighteen hours of the mastectomy, drains and all. If you have a radical prostectomy for prostate cancer, you are home on days three with a bladder catheter in place and instructions for your wife or daughter on how to handle the indwelling catheter and how to clean the urine bag so you don’t develop a bladder infection. Have a laminectomy on Tuesday for a slipped disc and you are home Thursday. Forget about being able to bend to pick something from the floor, and forget about being able to turn over in bed.
The facts about early discharges are quite stunning. The average length of stay following admission to a hospital are not only a quarter of what they were ten years ago; they are also on average four to six days less per surgical procedure in America than in Canada,, Germany, or France.”
I concur. In my experience the “kick em out the door” approach of hospitals these days is pretty outrageous. And we are paying double what other countries do for health care? Where is that money going?