Socialized Medicine Saved Me

Posted by: Betsm

When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks was diagnosed with cancer overseas, she didn’t hightail it back home, to “the best health care in the world”—she stayed in Australia, home to a humane, rational system.

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Written by Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer-Prize winner Geraldine Brooks

In 2004, I’d just finished a novel and by way of celebration had taken my family for an extended visit to Australia, where I was born and raised.

I didn’t expect that trip to save my life. But I’m convinced it did, because of Australia’s “socialized” medicine.

I retreat to my garret when I write a novel, especially toward the end. I stop going anyplace, wear sweat pants all day, neglect personal grooming. Back in the Sydney neighborhood where I’d lived for many years, I was re-entering the civilized world, and was on the way to a salon for an overdue haircut when I passed the BreastScreen van, parked in the main street.

This mobile service offers free mammograms, no appointment necessary. It wasn’t until I saw that van that I realized a mammogram was one of the things I’d forgotten to do. I was a year overdue, according to the guidelines for women my age, so I stepped into the van, got squished and zapped by a pleasantly efficient technician, who told me a radiologists’ report would be mailed out in a week or so.

Two weeks later, I was in a Sydney hospital, discussing treatment options for my invasive stage II cancer. According to testimony by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) at last Thursday’s health-care summit, I should have been heading for the airport at that point. Like his unnamed Canadian state premier with the heart condition, I should have been hightailing it to the U.S., to avail myself of “the best health care in the world.”

No thanks, Senator. I elected to stay in Australia. We had ample U.S. insurance; cost wasn’t an issue. I simply wanted to remain in a humane, rational system where doctors treat a person as a patient, not a potential plaintiff, and where the procedures ordered for me were the ones shown by hard science to produce the best outcome for the most people.

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1 Comment

Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Cancer, Health Care Reform, Politics, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

One response to “Socialized Medicine Saved Me

  1. Pingback: Socialized Medicine Saved Me « 44-D · Weight Loss and Health News

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