Get­ting a di­ag­no­sis can be painful these days

Boston Herald - - OPINION - Daniel WARNER Dan Warner is a vet­eran news­pa­per writer and ed­i­tor.

The state of health care in 2019 Amer­ica as ex­pe­ri­enced by one cou­ple in a two-out-of-five-star hos­pi­tal. The nurse was work­ing at one of those med­i­cal places, you know the self-stand­ing less-than-emer­gency rooms where there are no doc­tors, but where you go when you are feel­ing poorly but don’t want to spend hours in a noisy, sneezy, petri dish hos­pi­tal wait­ing room only to be told nothing is wrong and you should see your doc­tor in the morn­ing, even though “the morn­ing” is Sun­day and our doc­tor is on the Cape with all the other doc­tors. The nurse was most pleas­ant and car­ing, ob­vi­ously knowl­edge­able and ex­pe­ri­enced, but she couldn’t pro­vide the one thing we needed, which was an ul­tra­sound to make sure a dis­col­ored swollen an­kle was not har­bor­ing a killer blood clot. The only place that could help, she said, was, you guessed it, a hos­pi­tal. So across town we trekked, check­ing in at the emer­gency room, and be­ing ush­ered to a back room where they stow peo­ple who have need of just one spe­cific test. A youngish male nurse named Frankie tossed a sheet on a gur­ney, took the pa­tient’s vi­tals, and said some­one would be along presently to take us to the ul­tra­sound room. The wait was not hor­rific, and soon enough we were in and out, back on the same gur­ney in the same room. Frankie reemerged, only to flee like a fright­ened bunny when a some­what older man in cut­offs, san­dals and a mussed shirt ar­rived and be­gan look­ing at the charts. The new guy had a hos­pi­tal badge clipped to his col­lar iden­ti­fy­ing him as an “ad­vanced provider,” which I as­sume meant not a doc­tor, which, in­ci­den­tally, we never did see. I asked, in my best jour­nal­is­tic man­ner, what an “ad­vanced provider” was and he said, I kid you not, “Some­thing be­tween a nurse and a doc­tor.” And so the trend to­ward twist­ing the English lan­guage in or­der to ob­fus­cate es­ca­lates. The provider did say he took some ex­tra cour­ses af­ter be­ing a nurse, but cut the con­ver­sa­tion there. I looked up the title on the hos­pi­tal’s web­site and read a lot of doc­tor jar­gon, but got no more in­for­ma­tion, save to learn there are Ad­vanced Providers I and Ad­vanced Providers II. The pay is way up there, around $200,000. Our provider did say that if the test came back neg­a­tive, he’d be done with us. It did and he was. We went home, know­ing only that a blood clot was not in­volved. We have no idea what caused the ugly an­kle. The lady at the health clinic did call in pre­scrip­tions for bad coughs we both were suf­fer­ing — to a phar­macy that is closed on week­ends. No re­lief for three more days. We have ap­point­ments with our doc­tor in a few days. We will sug­gest that find­ing out what is go­ing on would be nice.

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