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Readers share their experiences of health care in the USA.

A RomLand regular writes:

I grew up visiting the doctor and dentist only when something was wrong. Annual visits just for a physical? No, because even with insurance, the co-pay for three kids was a large chunk of change from a not-large budget. It has taken years of adulthood to break myself of that habit, even partially.

Just after my first year of university, I came down with what I thought was food poisoning while home for the summer break. Spent the day huddled miserably in the bathroom, dry-heaving. My younger brother, the bane of my existence at the time, was sweet to me that day, trying to make me feel better. Did feel marginally better that night, because the heaving stopped, but then it resumed the next morning. My mother, an hourly not salaried employee, called in sick and took me to the Emergency Room of our local hospital.

We arrived before 9am and sat in the waiting room for perhaps an hour, answering questions from a survey form and talking to a nurse or PA. The first thing they wanted to do was a pregnancy test, because they were sure it was an ectopic pregnancy. I was confident that wasn’t the problem, but nothing I said convinced them otherwise, whether it was in the presence of my mother or not. After passing (failing?) the pregnancy test, I was re-examined and they determined I was suffering from acute appendicitis.