Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hospitals Reusing Needles

Hospitals reusing needles. Can you imagine? As an American, it is unfathomable. Or maybe not.

In 1997, I visited Russia. The newly free nation, just 8 years post the fall of communist rule, was trying to rebuild itself. After decades of communist rule in which the government controlled everything, I learned about the people's "free" healthcare system. My tour guide was open to sharing everything about her country, their life before and after, and their culture. She casually mentioned that the Russian hospitals reuse needles. She informed us that unless a patient had the money for new equipment, that the hospital reused what they had. It was shocking. I had read that AIDS was at epidemic levels in Russia, and now I knew why.

That was then. So I would have thought that it would have improved by now. But this year at CPAC, there was a young Russian student attending school here, who spoke about the hospitals reusing needles, urinary catheters, and a bunch of other things that are unspeakable. It is now 21 years after the fall of communism, and the "free" healthcare system is still at an unacceptable by American standards.

With all the discussions about reconciliation to push through government controlled healthcare, I recalled the stories from then and now and started to wonder. Russia was bankrupt in 1989 and there was no money to pay for anything. It is kind of where we are now. The Obama, Reid, and Pelosi statist trio are spending the nation into bankruptcy and intend to force government healthcare upon us at a cost of 1 trillion dollars that we don't have. There won't be any money to pay for it. We all know this will result in rationing. But where will that really leave us? Will we become Russia, and only Americans with money will be able to buy the equipment needed to obtain quality care for themselves? I know it sounds extreme. But on the other hand, what American would imagine any hospital anywhere reusing needles?

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