Friday, April 08, 2005

scary in the States

I'm currently reading a books kindly lent to me by Make Tea Not War - Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf.

Misconceptions is like an antidote to all the many, many preganancy books which aim to reassure. In fact, in the two and a half chapters I've read so far, the stuff Wolf describes is pretty alarming. She talks about how pregnant women in the States are subjected to medical practices which are geared toward (i) increasing billable costs and (ii) covering the practitioner's arses as much as possible, by pushing expensive tests and witholding information.

It doesn't sound anything like the treatment I've gotten so far. If this book is to be believed, then I'm glad that our taxpayer-subsidised healthcare is ridiculously cost-conscious (not to mention the fact that it's really hard to sue anyone in NZ). I don't think there's much chance of unnecessary procedures being performed on me if no-one stands to make any money out of it.


Happy and Blue said...

Don't read stuff like that when you're pregnant. Read happy books..

flying kiwi said...

Yes the health system is scary here. I actually considered going back to NZ or Australia for my thumb operation last year. I was lucky though to find a surgeon who kept costs down and charged me less than his billing company was trying to charge. Even so I'm a couple of grand out of pocket.

Make Tea Not War said...

Well I hope you'll stop reading it if you find it too upsetting but I know I found it quite a good thing to read when I was preghant even though some of its a bit disturbing.

Everyone is different but I found pregnancy (and birth) a quite frightening,intense, primal experience. Happy too, of course but I got really sick of the patronising, trivialising, sugar-coated way it is often talked about in our culture which really didn't reflect my emotional experience of it- so I found the book a breath of fresh air

Frally said...

I read that book when I was pregnant with DS and HATED IT. I think she makes some good points but she fails to acknowledge the middle ground approach, which a lot of mothers (myself included)believe in. She paints natural birthers as some kind of nazis, which is ridiculous. Yes, I had a natural homebirth with DS but would I balk at a cesarean if it was absolutely necessary? Hell no! I'd be grateful for it if it meant my baby would survive. This is the real misconception in my eyes, that the natural birth movement believes in natural birth at all costs!. I could go on, but I think you should read some books by Sheila Kitzinger if you want something actually informative rather than emotionally motivated.

Jon said...

The American healthcare system in complete crap, I couldn't agree more. However, while we have a system that wrongly seperates the haves from the have nots, we do have the best doctors in the world.

I believe that the US's health care system is based on the idea that hard work pays off, the prominent belief in this nation since it is a young country that was founded on those principles. Most Americans view things in this way- 'you have to work for things, not have them provided to you since you exist.' Understandable based on the founding principles, but morally wrong and at this point, horribly outdated, IMHO.

But, socialized medicine has its flaws as well- countries such as the UK have deplorable health care. One of my friends has dual British/American citizenship and was living in London a few years ago. Her great aunt needed heart surgery desperately, but the surgery was put off because there was a flu outbreak at the time- the surgery was pushed back 3 weeks, but she ended up dying. Bloody NHS yet again proved that it doesn't work, and while the US should ideally have universal healthcare, the population is too great here for that to be possible. I don't think there is any nation, at least that I've heard of, that has a good health care system.....

Violet said...

Happy and blue: I've just finished it, so I will go back to the happy stuff now.

Flying Kiwi:Or you could've had it done in Latin America and it would've been even cheaper ;-)

mntw: too late, it was so fascinating I couldn't put it down (esp. when she talks about the drastic changes in the relationship dynamics of couples post-birth). It's made me think harder about what I should expect when my turn comes, which is good.

frally: She seemed to me to be advocating a middle ground between the natural birth movement and the high-tech procedure, rather than actively putting down home birth. But then, I wasn't that interested in home birth because my home is messy enough as it is.

jon: I agree that neither form of healthcare seems to be quite right. NZ's situation is probably like the UK, with long waiting lists for non-private elective surgery and the push to get patients back home as soon as physically possible. And the book mentions that, too.