Thursday, March 18, 2010

We Need Health Care Doggone It

In Farmington, New Mexico, a strange patient showed up at the San Juan Regional Medical Center on Saturday night. I'll let Farmington Daily Times writer Elizabeth Piazza pick it up from here:

Hospital staff and patients were surprised when the automatic doors opened and a dog with blood on its nose and paw and a puncture hole in its rear leg walked inside.

"The irony of the situation is the dog wasn't doing well," said Robin Loev, animal control officer and park ranger. "He was drooling and appeared to be sick."

Loev responded to the emergency room at about 9:15 p.m. and found people gathered around the animal.

"The patients were giving him a cup of water when I showed up," Loev said.

The animal, a German Shepherd mix about 7 to 8 years old, did not require veterinary care.

Loev couldn't find the source of the blood and it didn't appear the dog was hit by a car. He suspects the puncture wound is from another dog bite, but it wasn't significant enough to call the veterinarian.

Loev took the dog to the Farmington Animal Shelter, where it was vaccinated and given water and a warm blanket.

"He's doing fine," said Patrick Jake, an employee at the shelter. "Everything was minor. He didn't really need immediate attention."

Loev is thankful the dog was kept inside the emergency room until he arrived.

Often people chase animals back into the street, scaring them and making it harder for animal control
officers to catch them, Loev said.
Shelter officials are uncertain if someone owns the dog, which is neutered and well-behaved.

"He seems very intelligent, very smart and calm and looking like he needed help," Loev said. "I guess he went to the right place."

Shelter officials often pick up animals that wander into the hospital.

"Every so many months, we get dogs walking into the emergency room because of the automatic doors," Biesecker said.

This situation was unusual because the dog was injured, Biesecker said.

The animal did not have tags but was wearing a green collar. It will be available for adoption Wednesday unless someone claims him.

"Some of these situations that come up make you wonder just how intelligent these animals are," Loev said.

So, basically, it sounds like this dog got the same treatment as someone without insurance would get. He was taken into the emergency room and made comfortable until he could be dumped off on another agency. It's sad.

Hopefully, we can get some real health care reform this weekend. Health care reform that includes a real public option. Health care reform that covers everybody. Health care reform that is fair across the board but that concentrates on those most in need. Health care reform that will replace the drug companies and the insurance companies as the final arbiters of care in this country.

The time has come and the time has began to pass. It's time to provide this country with a new national health care system. It needs to be a health care solution that is more like the House bill than the watered-down Senate bill. People, call your Senators and Congresspersons and tell them that we have their backs on health care. Don't let the Republicans and the tea partiers carry this day.

As President Obama said during the campaign, "We are the ones we have been waiting for." The time is now. Let's change the course of history when it comes to health care, and, if it costs us our majority, at least we can say we did something to improve people's lives. That Democrats made a difference when they were in power. Sometimes you pay the price for that.

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