We Need a Little of That Free Health Care Over Here, Please!
overly-contentious national debate over health care reform took a trip
to the hospital -- literally -- in Thousand Oaks, California, on
Wednesday. L.A. station KTLA reported that an anti-reform activist had
the top portion of his pinky bitten off
in a fight with a pro-reform rallyer. (In true local-news tradition,
the web version of KTLA's story comes complete with a photo of the
bloody sidewalk at the site of the confrontation.)
KTLA, two men got into an in-your-face shoutfest during a typical
rally/counter-rally over health care reform, and when the
anti-reformer, William Rice, felt threatened and took a swing at his
pro-reform antagonist, a good old-fashioned fistfight ensued, during
which the unnamed (and ultimately un-apprehended) reformer bit off the
top portion of Rice's pinky. Rice drove himself to the hospital, where
efforts to reattach the digit were unsuccessful. Naturally, bloggers on opposite sides of this issue have opposite takes on the incident. (Here are Red County and Odd Time Signatures
for a sampling.) But given the shrill and unproductive nature of most
of the healthcare "debate" thus far, perhaps we should be looking at
wrestling, hair-pulling, and finger-biting contests between opposing
factions as an attractive alternative to more of the same.
more importantly, this story itself raises many legitimate questions
about our current system of care:
The KTLA story lists William Rice's age
as 65. Did this staunch anti-socialist take advantage of his
single-payer Medicare benefits to get himself stitched up?
Was Los Robles Hospital guilty of rationing its severed-finger care? Did any fingerless patients that night get their digits reattached?
a British or Canadian hospital have been able to reattach the finger,
or would they have made Rice wait 6 months before trying?
Or do American hospitals provide the best finger-reattachment care in the entire world?
Was a death panel convened to see if Rice should simply be allowed to bleed to death in the E.R. waiting area?
Would a thorough tort-reform regime perhaps have encouraged his
doctors, freed from possible exposure to an outrageous malpractice
judgment, to try a controversial and risky, but potentially
finger-saving, surgical procedure?
And now that you've pondered these possibilities, you are free to get back to the accounts of town-hall riots and
comparisons to Hitler that are making this national "conversation" so