Praise here to all parents who lovingly pack a bag for their child, knowing they will be cut open the following day. As an emotional experience, May’s surgery was a complete disaster. There is no getting around that. When we entered the recovery room post-surgery, a child was rasping with the force of his own screams. It wasn’t a boy, it was my daughter. I didn’t recognize her.
But, it was also a major success. Performed by a surgeon whose specialism was not just orthopedic surgery, but orthopedic pediatric neurodisability surgery – a week later my daughter is already kicking her legs with happiness. And while those first couple of days were almost completely unbearable to witness as a parent, I never had the sense that anyone didn’t have May’s best interests at heart at every moment. They solved her pain issues as swiftly as possible, and their conviction and compassion reassured me.
The children’s hospital was a wonderful place. The nurses were outstanding. The food was edible. Even the building was inspiring.
My worries were entirely about my daughter. Never, not for a single moment did I ponder: can I afford this? Will my insurance cover this? May received the highest level of expertise from her surgery to her recovery. The pressure of expense was never an issue.
Throughout the week, I remembered another terrifying hospital stay – at a very similar and reputable children’s hospital in Detroit – an ambulance journey, MRI and one overnight stay ended with a bill of over $20,000 (covered by my British travel insurance.) The hospital room was almost identical to British ones I’ve stayed in, even down to the make of the medical equipment. We shared the room with one family, a grandmother watching over her four-year old grandson. In the morning, when I awoke, I asked my husband where they had gone.
“They left,” he said. “Their insurance ran out.”
I hated taking my daughter in for surgery this week. But, I never doubted that she would receive excellent care. I do not write this to disparage hospital treatment in America, which I believe is also excellent. But, terrible things are said of socialized medicine. In honor of the care they gave and continue to give my daughter, I want to publicly thank the British National Health Service.
This post was originally on the BabyCenter Blog and you can read it in full here: Why I’m grateful for socialized medicine.