Thinking Citizen Blog — Three Takeaways: Denial Warning, the Big Name Trade-Off, COVID Lockdown Costs

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic — Three Takeaways: denial warning, the big name trade-off, Covid lockdown costs

This is my attempt to draw out the most important lessons from my recent stay in the Emergency Department of Mass General Hospital during which I discovered that I have atrial fibrillation, a heart condition in which the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat out of sync with the lower chambers (the ventricles). Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

COVID LOCKDOWN COSTS: no regular EKG taken in March or September as originally scheduled

1. Would the atrial fibrillation have been caught back in March or September if I had had my regular in person visit with my cardiologist?

2. Would catching it early have prevented the crisis that led to the trip to the emergency room?

3. Had I died last week, would the death have been recorded as a lockdown cost?

DENIAL WARNING — conflicting blood pressure readings

1. Whenever I took my blood pressure readings at home, the readings were extremely high (eg. 165/125).

2. Whenever I went in to see the doctor, the readings in the office were much lower (130/90).

3. I wanted to believe the lower numbers — that the machine just had to be recalibrated. In retrospect, this discrepancy in readings should have been cleared up.

THE BIG NAME TRADE — OFF — hospitals and physicians

1. Is it better to go to the “best in the world” hospital or the local hospital?

2. I chose the former and don’t regret it but the choice has its downside.

2. At the best in the world hospital, the best in the world physician may give you a tenth of the time that the local physician does. You may also see so many specialists that you can’t remember their names much less what they said. You might get three answers to a simple question rather than one.

NB: I had had an Echo cardiogram and been cardioverted but no PA or physician walked me through the meaning of the results in English before I was discharged.

FINAL QUESTION: what were your takeaways from your most traumatic encounter with the US health care system (direct or indirect)?

For the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important.


Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.