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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday May 20th 2024

Hip Replacement Time

By Peter Molenaar

Ever have trouble engaging the medical system in this country? Try growing up in a medical family as I did. It was my father who examined all the private parts”¦mine as well as those of all my classmates. It followed that for years I returned to Cannon Falls for the free service, but did so only when the course of household remedy proved to be inadequate.

It was just within the past year that I entered one of the local clinics to find a primary physician outside my family. Although it was a painful left hip which demanded attention, I would submit to a gamut of tests and probes. Cholesterol “somewhat elevated”, thyroid “needs help”, prostate “no problem”.

As for the hip, x-rays revealed lost cartilage, the left hip being bone on bone. They call it arthritis. Turns out you get only so much cartilage to begin with. Wear it out and the deal is done.

Moving on”¦

One must submit to a second set of x-rays to appease the orthopedic surgeon”¦only to be told that hip replacement surgery does not proceed without a clear path to insurance. So, I hired an attorney to learn that this particular surgeon makes between $500,000 and $1,000,000 per year testifying against workmen”'s comp claims. My condition is work related. I will not commit fraud by stating otherwise.

“Burn Job” coming”¦

Via the office of Teamsters Local 970, the legal obligation to turn over the record of my work was conveyed to my employer. I was to receive instead a record of all reprimands issued. My actual work record remains “stored across the street.”

Go here, go there”¦

I heard about a surgeon whose technique cuts the recovery time in half. After another set of x-rays I was told, in essence, that this surgeon would not perform upon a worker who had acquired his condition over a lifetime of arduous labor. However, an associate might take a comp case.

So, after yet another set of x-rays, I was told again that surgery would not commence until the matter of insurance was resolved. But Doctor, I cannot resolve the matter until a physician attests to the causal connection. The response: How do you know you didn”'t wear out your hip after work?! Oh my God, you mean while watching TV, that sort of thing?

Once upon a time, in a far-away socialist land, all workers received thorough health examinations on a regular basis, free of charge. Should a serious problem develop, a lengthy retreat to a Black Sea health resort would follow”¦ free of charge and free of humiliation.

My case is still pending. There is hope.



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