David Burge Updates

David Burge updates his journey with leukemia

Scotty from Star Trek

with 2 comments

Good news: the scan showed a blocked sinus and a possible infection.  I was concerned that they might find something else but they didn’t. It also means the doctors can see what is causing the pain and hopefully something can be done to help. Dave was struggling with the prospect of more days in hospital. Tomorrow (?) he will see the ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) specialist.

This afternoon Dave was finally unhooked from all the IV lines after having received several treatments of chemo and several bags of blood products. It is very difficult to Dave to get around while attached to the IV machine which a normal able bodied person can push around. But when you have cerebral palsy, a bad head and are feeling dizzy you just stay in bed unless you decide to ring for a nurse to help. During the day, every time he moved his arm, it seemed to block the line and this causes an alarm to go off on his IV machine (the alarm is loud “Beep, beep, beep…”). His Mum and Dad visited this afternoon and helped him with some of his needs. I arrived as they unplugged him from the IV line so helped Dave change his clothing. I found chemo drugs that were sent up with him from the Day Stay unit that were to be given as injections (not as IV). Dave was too unwell at the time to keep track of them. I gave them to the nurse to check against the notes. His menu choices sheet was on his table out of his view, perhaps Dave was asleep when it was given but he didn’t know it was there. I don’t know what happens if you are very unwell and you don’t have family/friends to check these things.

(warning, next paragraph is a political rave 😉

I wish the medical staff wouldn’t say things like: you will have a CAT scan this afternoon and then it comes the next day. Better to be like Scotty in Star Trek and double/quadruple the estimated time and then might have less disappointed customers. Did you know that there are 12,000 hospital beds in NZ and 12,000 hospital managers and administrators? That is a 2006 figure – anyone have more up to date figures? Dave’s health hasn’t been compromised in any way, but others have see here. When I advocate for a free market in health care, please remember America does not have a free market in health care. You can listen to this short clip of a passionate American emergency doctor explaining how the government is the problem in America. She also briefly mentions an important issue regarding her 94 year old mother that when services are rationed by the Government, then they decide if you are too old or too whatever to receive a treatment. This BBC radio broadcast on the rise of medical tourism is worth a listen.

(rave ends)

Dave slept all night and the pain is under control: being a continuous dull ache rather the intense pain of the last week or so.

No visitors please except immediate family.

Thank you to everyone who sent encouraging emails and who are praying, I do pass these messages on to Dave. Thank you to those that pop gifts in the post for our practical needs. To those that leave no name or address, I am sending your “Thank you” through the blog (including one that went to my old address at Kingseat, it was forwarded to me) and also to anyone else that I have neglected to thank with a card.

Last night I listen to John Piper on ” Praying in the Closet and in the Spirit”

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
“All the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

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Written by admin

January 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Posted in from Tarnya

2 Responses

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  1. Warning: another political rave follows

    I found an article that covers the hospital that Dave is in. Extract:

    The hospital was opened with considerable celebration in October 2004. However, it has not all been smooth sailing. The hospital’s head acute orthopaedic clinician says his patients will suffer from the minute they make the move: “It has 50 beds and we’re looking after 72 patients every day…We won’t even be able to get into the unit that’s supposed to service Auckland for the next 30 years,” he said.

    He commented that many people will have to be farmed out to other wards [causing the doctors to waste time walking around the hospital while patients are waiting]. “Someone will be severely compromised or have some permanent disability because we were operating in a system we have no control over.”

    There have been other problems: the sterile supply department has not been functioning brilliantly (one MP called it “third world”) and the new computer systems have had “teething problems” which has caused delays. There has also been a shortage of nursing staff.

    (Emphasis mine. From http://www.hospitalmanagement.net/projects/auckland/ )

    Tarnya put up a link to a speech by an emergency dept doctor (above) who said that seven hospitals in New York (state, not city, I think) had been closed by the government. She also talks about the government restricting how many students can get into medical school.

    I found an article says in part

    There are over 190 residency programmes across the country covering this area of medicine and they graduate more than 1,000 emergency physicians each year. However, there are still not enough board-certified emergency physicians in the US, especially in rural areas, and there will continue to be shortages, possibly for decades.
    […]
    A recent report by the US Government Accountability Office found that patients who need to be seen in one minute will wait an average of 28 minutes. Emergency physicians and nurses are dedicated to providing the best care, but these delays are simply not sustainable without severe consequences.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that between 1996 and 2006 the number of emergency visits rose from 90.3 million to 119.2 million – an increase of 32%, or an average annual increase of nearly three million visits (2.9 million) per year. Meanwhile, the number of hospital emergency departments decreased from 4,019 to 3,833.

    (Emphasis mine. From http://www.hospitalmanagement.net/features/feature66411/ )

    This shows that a free market is not operating in the US because in a free market supply would increase to meet the rising demand for doctors and emergency departments.

    In other words, if the US had a free market in health care more people would go to medical school to fill in the shortages of doctors, and new emergency departments would be opening to meet the rising number of visits.

    When the government interferes in health care we get shortages of doctors and emergency departments, and we get hare-brained schemes such as providing 50 beds for a department that is caring for 72 patients at a time.

    We do have a free market in car repairs. When was the last time you had trouble finding someone to fix your car? Have you ever been told that there isn’t enough room for your sick car and you’ll have to bring it back next week? Yes, you might not be able to get into your first-choice garage straight away, but there’s always another one down the road. There’s no problem getting cars repaired because in a free market the supply (garages and mechanics) rises to meet the demand (number of sick cars). The profit motive of the free market is not evil, it is what keeps our cars healthy.

    Imagine what life would be like if we had a government-controlled car repair system that gave the same service levels as the government-controlled health system. The number of garages and mechanics would drop as the number of sick cars rose. There would be many chronically ill and crippled cars around that would be fine if they could just see a car doctor. Bicycles would be very popular, at least until the government took control of them.

    If the free market can look after sick cars and keep them safe, as it clearly does so well, it can look after sick people and keep them healthy.

    Mandeno Moments

    January 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm

  2. I haven’t been able to locate anything more recent than 2006, but the 12000/12000 figure was given in parliament in 2006:

    There is one place where we can say the health money is going. It is going into bureaucracy. There are 12,000 hospital beds in New Zealand, and there are 12,000 bureaucrats to fill them. That is just outrageous, but it is absolutely true. I was stunned when I heard that statistic. When I came into this Parliament, I had heard that Mr Hodgson was a competent Minister. I had heard that he would do good things in health. Then I picked up my copy of New Zealand Doctor and I saw that he rates himself as being only 5½ out of 10. He says he does not feel confident in the health portfolio, and he does not even feel that he can get to grips with the ministry.

    ( http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/e/4/7/48HansD_20060720_00000764-Estimates-Debate-In-Committee.htm )

    Then there’s this from parliament in 2007:

    How can the Labour Party stand proud as the defender of the public health system when in Rotorua patients recovering from surgery 2 days earlier are finding scrubbing brushes and rubber gloves and are cleaning the toilets themselves?
    […]
    This Government has employed two bureaucrats for every extra doctor in the health system. It has employed two health bureaucrats for every extra doctor working in our hospitals. That is the record of the Labour Party in the health system. With $5 billion extra spent on health there have been fewer people getting elective surgery, emergency departments are turning patients away, and now in Rotorua patients are being forced to clean the public hospital toilets themselves within days of having surgery.

    ( http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/Daily/4/3/3/48HansD_20071205-Volume-644-Week-63-Wednesday-5-December-2007.htm )

    Mandeno Moments

    January 7, 2010 at 12:54 am


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