A Little Help From My Friends

        I saw a patient today who goes back a long way with me.  A few years ago, he lost his health insurance, and I did what I could to help him along.  I gave him samples at each visit, and charged less than what was indicated every time too.  We never talked about it, but he was a smart guy, and I know he knew what I was doing.

        When he got another job, and some health insurance, he scheduled a visit right away.  “Doc,” he said.  “I appreciate all you done to carry me along last year.  I’ve got me some health insurance now, and I want you to do everything you have- run up a bill for a grand!”  He held both arms out as a gesture to draw blood work.

        I had to tell him it didn’t work that way, but I did appreciate his concern for me.  Here he was  gonna sacrifice his body to help me out.  It was a thoughtful response, and it sure meant more to me than the thousand dollars would have from his insurance company.  Besides, we are a little country office.  I’m not sure we could run up that kind of bill in a day, anyway.  If we did, I’m certain they would take notice.

       But, as much trouble as insurance companies give us, it was a nice thought, and it got me through the day.  I appreciated an offer for a little help from my friends, even if I could not partake of it.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “A Little Help From My Friends”

  1. Cindy Carter Says:

    I can tell you from experience, those that you help, who appreciate it, are usually right there to help you when you need it. Even if all they can do is offer a shoulder to cry on, they will gladly do that.

    I thank God everyday that I was raised by a grandmother that taught us that it never hurts you to help someone else. She definitely gave time and talents and we all do too. You always have enough to help those who don’t.

  2. Ted Lehmann Says:

    As near as I can tell, in this discussion of universal medical care, an good question to start with is, “Does it benefit an insurance company?” If the answer is “Yes” then it’s a bad idea. I know docs are not enthusiastic about single payer systems, but just think of how much more care could be provided if we eliminated insurance companies from the equation. I’ve got a longer rant if you’d like it. – Ted

  3. drtombibey Says:

    ms. Cindy,

    The old what goes around comes around is often true, huh?

    Dr. B

  4. drtombibey Says:


    You know, I don’t see how the system could be any worse. If it weren’t for my patients I’d quit, but I don’t think anyone else would care about them like I do, esp my music people.

    When Insurance CEOs make millions and even the mid-level level managers make a bunch of money, and folks can’t get care, something is wrong.

    Dr. B

  5. mrschili Says:

    I can appreciate this – it’s all about balance, and your patient was trying to even things out a bit. I also agree that the gesture was worth more than the cash, though. Sometimes, it really IS the thought that counts.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Yeah, in this case, I’d a gotten in a world of trouble for taking him up on it, but he didn’t mean anything by it, and it was a nice thought. Dealing with insurance companies does make it tempting, but I enjoy life on the outside of prison walls, so I guess I’ll stick to my same old way of doing things.

    Dr. B

  7. Amber Says:

    Not that I would expect any less of you Dr. B – but honestly I could give you the biggest hug. Doctors like you who give people with no insurance a break…. they are heroes.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ms Amber,

    You know I figure we are all one step away from a disaster. When it is me, I hope someone will be nice to me and treat me with dignity. I’m healthy today, and have a job, but it could all be different tommorrow.

    Dr. B

  9. Amber Says:

    Dr. B – that is so true…. thats basically what happened to me. One day, healthy and executive in life, and next sick and disabled. Its good you appreciate that state of healthy being you have.

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    I am thankful for my health. If I lose it I hope I keep your perspective, though.

    Dr. B

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