Basketball is not intended to be a contact sport. Unfortunately, during team practice today Ezekiel’s little finger made contact with the ball and he came home with a swollen pinkie that was jutting out at an odd angle, which he could not straighten or move without extreme pain. After icing it and hemming and hawing a little bit we headed to the ER of one of the private hospitals in town (it was late enough in the evening that no clinics or doctor’s offices would be open.)
The ER experience was smooth, easy, and efficient, an incredible contrast to understaffed, overcrowded ER at the public hospital where we usually bring any patients who need transport for higher-level care. Ezekiel was unquestionably the healthiest patient there but we were still seen immediately. Within half an hour of arrival we had paid for our x-ray (in the Philippines, you pay first and then get treated: that’s why there’s no wait time in the ER) and Ezekiel was getting zapped. The radiology tech was surprised when I asked him to put the apron on my kid for just a hand x-ray.
Probable diagnosis: chip fracture. (They x-rayed the uninjured hand too to compare but I only got a photo of the first one.) No orthopedists in house at 7 pm so Matt’s going to take him back tomorrow.
The ER doctor offered to admit him so he could have first crack at the ortho in the morning rather than having to wait around in the outpatient clinic (Seriously? Seriously! “Since there is a fracture, we are allowed to admit him.”) This was obviously overkill so I said we’d just come back tomorrow. They settled for immobilizing the hand and finger (which Ezekiel considered excessive), telling us to keep icing, and writing a prescription for mefenamic acid which we probably won’t bother with since the swelling is fairly minimal (post title notwithstanding) and he’s not in pain unless he tries to move his finger.
The most remarkable part of the whole thing (besides being in and out and home in about an hour and a half, half an hour of which was spent driving?) Total bill for ER visit with x-ray: 823 pesos. (At today’s exchange rates, that’s USD$18.39.) Plus $0.65 for the bandage. Except… that this is at the expensive private hospital that very few families can actually afford to go to. It’s still hard to fathom that what seems like such a small amount to us is an insurmountable barrier to care to so many others.