The chart reads, â€œhere for 6-month AF ablation follow-up.â€
My eyes track first to theÂ palpitations box. None.
Then the ECG. Regular.
Good. That’s a relief. Sweet!
Knowing he was free of symptoms and in regular rhythm, I bounced into the room.
“How are you?”
He looked well. Observe. Always observing, us doctors.
I just got my final bill for the ablation.
Uh-oh. Pause. “Think, John.” Come up with something about how healthcare doesnâ€™t have to be so expensive. Or capitalism incents innovation. Or, the same procedure costs ten-fold less in Germany. But all I could think to say was:
“Donâ€™t be sorry, it seems like a lot but pales in comparison to the money it cost to care for my AF before the procedure. Thank you.”
We ended up chatting about cost-effectiveness. That’s because when an AF patient no longer has AF there isn’t much else to discuss.
I tweeted today that electrophysiologists are lucky to have procedures that change peoplesâ€™ lives for the better. Our (evidenced-based) tech-heavy devices combined with training and some skills really do work. For people.
And though I wished I didn’t feel this way, (I never used to), it’s gratifying when these hard-won successful outcomes beat down the negativism of the take-the-fun-out-of-medicine people. Though they try to extract our joy, with their forms, and clicks, and ‘pre-certs’ and mostly their distrust, for now, our worthwhile work, which makes a difference in the lives of those we serve, wins out.
Imagine if it didn’t.