• Urinary Tract Infection – UTI (fever, common with elderly ) ; avoided with proper hygiene; use of cranberry juice
• Sprains and strains ; preventive measures
• Kidney stones ; regular doctor care and physical check-up
• Stomach ache (can be related to food poisoning and other ailments); hot compress on tummy; hygiene ; do not eat in restaurants with questionable sanitary conditions
Others: Ear ache from impacted wax (hydrogen peroxide cleaning); tooth ache (preventive measures, tea tree/flosing/hygiene); blood pressure (diet and lifestyle; consume whole foods); falls (prevention at home); stroke (prevention and regular doctor care for elderly)
Many more such clinics are needed, staffed perhaps by newly licensed doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Or, as Dr. Marvin Moser, a professor of medicine at Yale, suggested in an interview, “Parts of hospitals that are closing could be kept open as walk-in clinics, where costs are considerably less, there are no four-hour waits and no automatic tendency to admit patients to the hospital.”
Group practices can — and often do — rotate having a doctor on call during off-hours, weekends and holidays. Virtually every doctor has a cellphone, and those in solo practices should be asked to give patients the number or include it in the recorded message when the office is closed.
If you have a chronic medical problem, such as a heart condition or asthma, your doctor should devise a care plan that will reduce the chances of a crisis that requires emergency care. Comprehensive patient education, especially for those with chronic conditions, can help to alleviate concerns when a symptom occurs. If your doctor does not provide such information verbally or in print, ask for it or educate yourself by researching your ailment on the Web. Better yet, get a new doctor who tells you what to expect and when to seek medical help.
Adding to problems with emergency room care are high and widely ranging out-of-pocket costs to patients for seemingly identical conditions.
Dr. Moser said his 11-year-old granddaughter, who had a bad stomachache, received questionable tests at outrageous charges at an emergency room in California where the child’s doctor had told the family to take her. The bill included $356 for a routine blood count, $1,212 for a blood analysis and $1,135 for a sonogram — not to mention $1,288 just for walking in the door.
In a new study, Dr. Renee Y. Hsia of the University of California, San Francisco, and co-authors found that among the 10 most common outpatient conditions seen in emergency rooms nationally, charges ranged from $4 to $24,110 for sprains and strains; $15 to $17,797 for headaches; $128 to $39,408 for kidney stones; and $50 to $73,002 for urinary tract infections.