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A dog bites man story about American health-care


A dog bites man story about American health-care


By Craig J. Cantoni

August 9, 2009


Six-thirty on a Sunday morning in Scottsdale, Arizona.  My wife and I are on our two-hour walk and far from home.  Cell phone rings.  Our 18-year-old son Chris is on the phone to tell us that he was out running in the neighborhood and was bitten by a dog that was being walked by its owner.


We tell him to get the owner’s name, phone number and the dog’s shot record, and then to go home and wash out the wound and put antiseptic on it. 


After doing that, he calls back and thinks he might need to see a doctor.  Thanks to American health-care, we are able to tell him that there are three options:  (1) go to the emergency room of the nearby hospital; (2) go to the nearby urgent-care clinic; or (3) call the answering service of our family doctor.  We recommend option 3.


Within 10 minutes, the family doctor calls back, tells him how to treat the wound, and says there is no need to get other medical treatment.  She also says that she’ll call back during the day to see how he is doing.


For 15 years, the family doctor and her staff and other doctors in the small practice have given superb care to our son, to my wife, to me, and to my ageing mother.  The doctor is in her late thirties and is still paying off her college loans.  Because of Medicare price cuts, she probably loses money whenever she sees my mother, but she shows the utmost patience with her and gives her all the time she wants or needs.


During a recent visit to the doctor, my mom began having shortness of breath as I was walking her to the office.  The doctor immediately gave her an EKG and then had me take her in a wheelchair across the street to another building in the medical complex for an X-ray.  Fifteen minutes later the X-ray was completed and the results were sent to our doctor, who then did some blood work on my mom.  Thankfully, everything was okay.


The doctor and her staff are like family to us.  We give them Christmas gifts each year, as well as our sincere appreciation each time we see them.


The nearby urgent-care clinic also provides outstanding service.  For non-emergency situations, the clinic even has a system whereby a customer can call ahead to find out the wait-times and request to be notified at home when one of the physicians is available.


All of that will turn to crap under whatever form of national health-care President Obama shoves down our throats.  Our doctor and her staff will become de facto government employees, and the urgent-care clinic will become a de facto government facility.  Can you spell Post Office?


No doubt, doctors under national health-care won’t be allowed to accept Christmas gifts from patients, as that would suggest favoritism, non-egalitarianism, and a mix of church and state.  It won’t matter, anyway, because patients will no longer feel a special bond to physicians and want to show their gratitude.  After all, no one gives Christmas gifts to the employees at the Drivers License Bureau.


Years from now after national health-care has worked its wonders, a son will call his parents on a Sunday morning to let them know he was bitten by a dog.  The parents will tell him he has two options:  (1) go to the emergency room and wait 24 hrs. for treatment, as is the case in Britain; or (2) call a physician on Monday morning and make an appointment to see her at the first available opening, which will probably be in three weeks.


The thought of this makes me so rabid that I want to bite Obama’s leg.



An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at            


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