Stent for Each Inning
A 74-year-old athletic man consulted me after
nine coronary stents were inserted in his heart and
two more into his kidney arteries, all during one
trip to the the procedure room. Here is my
conversations with him:
"Did you really have eleven stents put into you
in one day?" I asked, incredulous.
"Yes," he replied matter-of-factly.
"Did you have a heart attack?"
"Do you have angina?"
"Can you walk thirty blocks without chest pain?"
"I can do fifty blocks."
"And without shortness of breath?"
"And without air hunger?"
"He chops wood for fun," his wife chimed in.
"Then why did they put in those eleven stents?í
"Beats us," she said, frustrated. "Iím a
registered nurse. I want to kick myself for allowing
"Why did you go to the hospital?"
"Our primary sent us there just for a routine
Why nine?" I asked, looking at him.
"I guess one for each inning. He must be a
baseball enthusiast," he replied wryly.
Everyone Will be Unwell
A recent government analysis
predicts that the U.S. will spend $4.6 trillion in
ten years, up from the current value of $2.4
trillion. My mind wandered back to what I wrote on
the subject 17 years ago. In RDA: Rats, Drugs,
and Assumptions (1994), I included a letter to
the U.S. Congress that began with the following
Two elements characterize medicine in
the U.S. today: The cost of health care
continues to escalate, and the health of
Americans continues to deteriorate. If the
two trends were to hold, a time can be
foreseen when the nation's total resources
will have to be committed to health care,
and everyone will be unwell.
The U.S. clearly continues on
the disturbing trajectory which I foresaw eighteen
years ago. The Americans, as I document in several
articles, continue to get sicker. The incidence
rates of most inflammatory and degenerative
disorders in the U.S. are steadily rising.
List of Related Stories
* The Sword Story
I Don't want
Soul's Sweat Stories
Bullet for Hypertension
The Bite of the Neck
One Coronary Stent
for Each Inning
The Bite of the Grey Dog