Avatar
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

‘Nonessential’ pain

Empower Wisconsin | April 22, 2020 

By M.D. Kittle  

MADISON — What happens when your pain and suffering aren’t considered important enough for medical treatment? 

As Empower Wisconsin reported last week, too many sick and hurting people in the pandemic have been told the surgeries or procedures that could help them are considered elective — or “nonessential.” 

A Madison-area woman says her 70-year-old husband who, up until recently, was “running rings around” his much younger co-workers on construction job sites, is now struggling to catch his breath, to walk across the room, because of the pain that has “taken over.”

“No one who knows him recognizes this guy. I don’t know who this guy is. He was the strongest guy I’ve ever seen. Now I’m watching him deteriorate right before my eyes,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear that sharing her story could complicate her husband’s care. 

The man’s primary physician suspects he has a bone lesion and possible blood clots in his lungs, based on preliminary tests. The doctor requested a local hospital perform more precise testing. Two weeks later, the seriously ill man and his wife have heard nothing form the hospital.

“You would think the possibility of blood clots in someone’s lungs would be urgent,” the Madison-area woman said. “This is ridiculous. He can’t move.” 

While the hospital — like so many other health care centers across the country — has focused much of its efforts on preparing for a predicted looming wave of COVID-19 patients, at least one of its floors cleared for coronavirus patients recently was empty.

On Tuesday, the seriously ill man was able to secure critical testing at a hospital, about 45 minutes to the north.  

In another report to Empower Wisconsin, a Madison-area woman who was diagnosed with a golfball-sized cyst in her abdomen was told the surgery to remove the growth is “elective.” The woman waits for relief in writhing, incapacitating pain. 

Concern has risen in the month since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that “all elective surgeries, nonessential medical, surgical, and dental procedures” must be delayed because of the pandemic. In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers’ administration quickly followed suit. The idea was to not tax badly needed hospital space and equipment during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. 

Some states are beginning to relent, or at least are considering easing up. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced elective outpatient treatment can resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 beginning next week. 

On Monday, the Trump administration released guidelines for resuming elective procedures. But states have the ultimate say on when to restart.  

Until then, patients in pain will continue to wait for “nonessential” relief. 

Listen to more:

Explore More
Cuomo’s lockdown U-turn

Cuomo’s lockdown U-turn

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the king of COVID lockdowns, did a U-turn this week, insisting that the Empire State “cannot say closed until the vaccine hits critical mass.” 

Read More »

January 15, 2021
The good, the bad, the bizarre of Evers’ State of the State

The good, the bad, the bizarre of Evers’ State of the State

Missed the State of the State on Tuesday night?  No problem.  We’ve got you covered. Here is the good, the bad, and the bizarre.

Read More »

January 15, 2021
Evers’ vaccine fiasco leaves Waukesha County in limbo

Evers’ vaccine fiasco leaves Waukesha County in limbo

The Evers administration’s botched COVID-19 vaccine rollout has left Wisconsin’s third-largest county waiting for answers and some of its most vulnerable citizens pushed to the back of the vaccine line.

Read More »

January 15, 2021
A brief history of Anthony Fauci failing up

A brief history of Anthony Fauci failing up

To ensure that AIDS would be his exclusive demesne within the federal government, Fauci “started the most important bureaucratic battle in the history of the fight against AIDS,” squeezing out more scientifically competent, but less conniving administrators.

Read More »

January 15, 2021
State employee meetings, training back on

State employee meetings, training back on

Updated guidance from the Division of Personnel Management now allows for “in person meetings, trainings and conferences up to a maximum of 10 individuals.” 

Read More »

January 14, 2021
Vaccine panel: Prisoners before the elderly

Vaccine panel: Prisoners before the elderly

Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine and when has become a major point of conversation and contention as the Evers administration appears overmatched in leading statewide vaccine distribution efforts.

Read More »

January 14, 2021

1 thought on “‘Nonessential’ pain

  • Haven’t you heard we’re non-essential? Decided by some faceless and gutless bureaucrat who will never have to face justice for the deaths caused by this ignorance. Maybe Evers is that face? And maybe the justice will occur at the ballot box? Or in the court of public opinion? Maybe Evers will have to retire far, far away where he will feel safe?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *