walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

it's not just cultural -- it's all about the money

Doctors get paid for procedures. Just keep repeating that. That's what's really wrong here.

I posted a link to a bioethics blogger. In that article was a link to this article:


Which starts out really bad (I don't currently know where it ends because I can't get there yet.
It's too painful.). It's all over the we're better at taking care of preemies because of
surfactant therapy and blah blah bleeping blah. Never mind this:


I mean, some people down south figured out about kangaroo care 30 years ago and beat our preemie rates hands down with it. But that's not okay in our medical system. Nooooo. That might lead to co-sleeping and we know how the AMA feels about that.


Anyway. Back to virtual mentor, they do not include the standard disclaimer on comparing preemie rates internationally.

[Start quote]Do U.S. hospitals want to decrease NICU stay? While in most areas of pediatrics, frequency and duration of hospitalization have decreased over several years, NICU admissions have gone up mainly because of the increase in prematurity. According to pediatrician and ethicist John Lantos, "NICUs have become the economic engine that keeps children's hospitals running [10]." Lantos adds, "It almost seems as if society, by some mechanism, is working against health to produce more and more low-birth-weight babies, and that medicine is then working against society, desperately trying to patch the wounds caused by some nameless thing that is forcing our babies from the womb too soon [11]."[End quote]

Okay, it's not "society" or "some mechanism", it's basic accounting. You said NICUs are where they're making all the money. You could have perfect births of perfect babies 100% of the time. They'd just set the bar for sticking the kid in the NICU in a different place if they need kids in the NICU to pay the bills. Duh. Of course, normally we only do drastically evil stuff if we're really desperate, e.g. have to feed a kid who will otherwise go hungry. Hospital administrators, clearly, are made of sterner stuff.

The article has some merit, but I really think they missed the point. Yeah, sure. Limit number of embryos transferred. Whatever. But if you want to fix that NICU problem, that won't do it. Other countries don't have overuse of NICUs because in other countries NICUs aren't a profit center.

I should quit reading about this. It's just upsetting me. But I _really_ think I'm right that there's a completely screwy missing component to the Making a Perfect Baby rhetoric. People should be talking a lot more about the technical risks associated with IVF and other ARTs. And no one is.
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