On helmets and health care | SummitDaily.com

On helmets and health care

Richard Nishman MD

Since the tragic death of Natasha RIchardson I have read a flurry of comments and articles related to helmets. In my opinion helmets are good, and should be worn (I use one). However her death should raise a much more important discussion. How could this happen?

I don’t believe this tragedy would have happened in Summit County. Even a drunk, minimum-wage snowboarder with a head injury (similar to Ms. Richardson) would have been brought to the Summit Medical Center. They almost definitely would have had a head CAT scan. If an injury was noted, and could not have been treated on site, they would have been helicoptered to Denver (weather permitting). The patient in my opinion would be alive! Yes they would probably be faced with at least a $50,000 bill, but being alive, they would have an opportunity to reconcile the bill.

While nationalized health care seems appealing to many (especially in bad economic times), the system works (well not quite) in part by limiting resources, and limiting (rationing) care. Even a relatively wealthy person may not be able to get the care they want (or need) in a timely fashion. As this recent tragedy exemplifies. While we pay a lot for health care in the U.S., we have available to us, the best health care in the world.

Don’t be fooled into believing that health care run by the government is a good thing. All you need to do is look north, or to Europe to know that this is simply not true.