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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 21, 2012 at 11:06 am | | Reply

    Yeah for Jason – I’ve always found it troubling to hear stories of those in other countries having to ‘ration insulin’, taking as few as one shot every two days.

    Sadly – though not to the same extent – this same lack of basic supplies like test strips plagues those in the US who cannot purchase health care due to their pre-existing condition.

    Some insurance companies – obamacare or not – only allow 4 strips/day. You know why? It is because they are a for-profit company, and they are taking a bet that by the time you need an $$$ kidney transplant or dialysis that you will be on another company’s insurance plan.

    So much of this could be fixed with a non-profit single payer system in which investing upfront in the preventative care of an individual saves not only lives but money.

  2. Jay Kauffman
    Jay Kauffman October 23, 2012 at 10:55 am | | Reply

    Thanks for this great article! It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own survival issues and forget that in a lot of countries, the struggle is many times as hard.

    I grew up in the Philippines and was diagnosed there when I was 13. As a “rich” american (compared to most of the country’s citizens) we were able to afford the best care.

    What was that?

    The best doctor we could find was a man who refused to work in one of the big hospitals for a big salary. He had formed his own clinic in Tondo, which was a really large and notoriously dangerous slum.

    I still remember him—very bright and enthusiastic soul. He used the money from patients like me to support free treatment for impoverished diabetics living in Tondo. He asked us for our old syringes so he could give them to his patients. They would use one plastic syringe until it was worn down, no longer legible nor sharp. That kind of desperation-based practice still surely happens today as well

    He was also ahead of his time. He ordered us a copy of Dr. Bernstein’s first and somewhat controversial book, in which was advocated something that seemed crazy and unrealistic to most doctors—Home Blood Sugar Monitoring!

    So I was lucky enough to get started on BG strips and testing multiple times a day, early on, at a time (I think) when most people, even in the US, were still relying on urine tests.

    A few years into my diabetes I remember staying at the Joslin Clinic for a training, and they were still teaching us how to “second void” , meaning that BG testing was still not completely phased in.

    I’m so happy that we got the chance to interact with a forward looking doctor on a mission who had compassion for people struck with the double whammy of a chronic illness and poverty that doesn’t allow them the means to pay for it.

    I also imagine that he must have felt conflicted, seeing his poor patients suffer for lack of resources, not being able to recommend to them the kinds of expensive regimens that he knew were really needed but were unaffordable to all but a few of his richer patients like me.

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