“Doctor Zuo, the patient owes us some treatment fees, should we press him to pay?” The head nurse dialled Zuo Cidian’s phone, but her tone remained polite.
Zuo Cidian hummed and said in a troubled tone, “Did the doctor-in-charge not press them for the fees?”
“They did. But they failed to get it.”
“I see…” Zuo Cidian remained silent for two seconds and said, “Doctor Ling has already conducted preoperative consultation, and the surgery is about to start. So, we definitely have to carry out the surgery. As for the collection of fees, just try to collect as much as possible.”
“What if we fail to collect it?”
“We’ll talk about it after the surgery. But the surgery cannot be delayed any further,” Zuo Cidian said decisively and added, “Since it is just an open surgery, it will not cost a lot. If the patient really can’t afford it, we still have a medical fee waiver policy we can use.”
“They switched to a laparoscopic surgery.” The head nurse added and said, “We can only waive a few of the charges. The patient is not so poor that he can’t eat… Oh well, I’ll see what I can do.”
The head nurse had no choice but to hang up and go to make some arrangements.
Zuo Cidian thought that she might still ask some people to urge the patient to pay the fees again. If they really could not get the money, they would give up. Afterall, the patients were not the only ones who felt that the medical fees were too expensive, hospitals felt the same as well. With the current surgery volume in Yun Hua Hospital, if 1% of the patients refused to pay their medical fees, by next year, the bank would come after the hospital for the debt they owed them.
The Emergency Medical Center had a larger surgery volume because of Ling Ran. Furthermore, it had a large number of special patients and international patients. So, it could be considered as a rich department, but this fact was built on the basis that they collected fees from their patients regularly. It was okay for them to waive some patients’ medical fees, but if this were normalized… Even a country would not be able to afford waiving the medical fees for its people, so it was impossible for a department or a hospital to take this burden from the patients.
Money was not a sin, but the physical manifestation of how much a person worked.
Doctors, nurses, drug manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, and hospital constructors earned money by the amount of work they placed into forming the medical system. This amount of work was converted into numbers, and they were given money to reward them on their efforts.
And this number must come from a source.
Medical fees in the USA was the most expensive in the world and occupied 17% of the total GDP in a year, and that was around 3.4 trillion USD. A total of 1 trillion was paid by the government and that was equivalent to the tax burden. The other 2.4 million would be shouldered by the insurance company. In a country where 90% of the population was insured by insurance, a normal American would need medical insurance that cost above 5,000 USD annually before they could seek treatment at a hospital at ease. On average, their medical expenditure per capita was 9,000 USD each year.
Medical expenditure was like a bottomless pit, and this was especially prominent when someone was dying, because their desire to live could not be compared with the price-performance ratio.
Zuo Cidian did not want to be a bad guy, but he was worried that the surgery would be delayed. So, he only went to the ward right before the surgery. He could hear the conversation between the father and daughter from afar.
“Dad, don’t worry too much. I’ve already gotten the money necessary. My boss and leaders lent me some money. They are all rich people, and they said I don’t have to pay them back quickly, so they asked me to use the money at ease.”
“It’s good that you’re able to get the money. Sigh, even though you managed to get the money needed, you still need to spend it wisely, understand? You have to return the money you borrowed. My disease… If I can recover from my disease, I can be discharged earlier and earn back the money. If not, if not… Sigh… I’ll just be bringing a huge problem to our family.”
“Dad, stop saying that. The doctor already said that you just have a bad stomach. Once the surgery is completed, you should eat less and rest more, and you’ll feel better!”
“I checked before this. Doctor Ling is quite a famous doctor and has treated many people. You don’t have to worry. You’ll definitely be healed.”
“I will be healed, huh…? Alright, you can go back to your room now and rest. Once my surgery is completed, the nurse will push me out.” The father’s voice was still quite calm. It was the type of voice that Zuo Cidian always heard. Suddenly, Zuo Cidian thought about his son.
If he still worked at the township hospital and got sick, he would probably speak to his son with the same tone.
Zuo Cidian thought about this absent-mindedly. When he walked over, the patient was pushed out. The patient’s daughter stopped at the door separating her from her dad, and she did not continue moving forward.
“Doctor Ling’s skills are among the top in our hospital. You don’t have to worry too much.” Zuo Cidian looked at the patient’s daughter and comforted her.
“Thank you… doctor.” The patient’s daughter still remembered Zuo Cidian, because his head looked like a braised egg, but she had forgotten his name.
“I did not do anything. The surgery is led by Doctor Ling. Live well when your father recovers. Pay back the borrowed money. When you think back about what happened today, it wouldn’t be that serious anymore.” Zuo Cidian smiled.
The patient’s daughter hesitated and whispered, “Sorry… I did not manage to borrow money.”
“I tried to… borrow some from my colleagues, leaders, and my boss, and they said they do not have money to lend me. I did try to ask my other family members too.” As the patient’s daughter spoke, her eyes were filled with tears. “My d-dad’s surgery…”
Zuo Cidian was a bit alarmed as he saw her crying. He immediately said, “No worries. If you can’t make it, just owe it to the hospital first. The surgery still needs to be performed first.”
“Thank you, thank you…”
“This has nothing to do with me. It’s the policy of the hospital.” Zuo Cidian dared not shoulder this responsibility.
The patient’s daughter just kept thanking him, and as she continued mumbling under her breath, she started choking up, “I tried to lend from all places I could think of. All my relatives refused to pick up my phone. Some even blocked my WeChat…”
Zuo Cidian could only show sympathy as he listened to her story. After staying at the hospital for so long, he heard far too many similar stories. Forget about failing to borrow money from relatives, there were even cases where the husband ran away with the money that they borrowed.
“After my father goes through the surgery, if the tumor is a malignant tumor, does that mean he still needs chemotherapy?” The patient’s daughter asked the same question she had asked many times.
And Zuo Cidian could only answer by providing both possibilities. “The chance for gastrointestinal stromal tumors being benign are high. You don’t have to worry too much. Even if it was malignant, that depends on the situation. Some require chemotherapy but some don’t. If chemotherapy is really needed, then go through with it, and your father’s survival rate will be higher too.”
“How… much is needed?” The patient’s daughter lowered her head once she finished asking.
Zuo Cidian did not immediately tell her the amount needed.
He looked at her and their surroundings before she whispered. Then, he whispered, “If you trust me, you should go for treatment first. Just pay a part of the fees whenever you have money. If you don’t have money, just tell them honestly.”
“They told me… that they’d stop giving us the medicine if we don’t pay.” The patient’s daughter looked at Zuo Cidian.
“It won’t happen so soon. Furthermore, your father’s surgery is performed by Ling Ran. It should be fine to delay payment for a while.” After Zuo Cidian said this, he immediately left while there was no one around to see him telling the patient all these things.
If what he said just now was heard by the Medical Affairs Department, he might be criticized.
The patient’s daughter did not understand that. She only assumed that Zuo Cidian was trying to comfort her, and she slowly calmed down.
At the operating theater, Ling Ran performed the surgery slowly. He wanted Ren Qi and Ye Sigong to be able to observe clearly and understand what he was doing.
Both of them could be considered as surgeons who had good basic skills. They had performed gastrectomy and laparoscopy before coming to Yun Hua Hospital, but the number of cases they performed were lower, and the quality was also subpar.
Performing a surgery was just like understanding and solving a question within a short period of time.
The theoretical basis of a doctor was basically fixed in their twenties and thirties. This was just like how it would be difficult to improve the theoretical basis of a senior year student who was preparing for his national college entrance examination.
The doctors who were bright and had high academic qualifications would have great advantages when they started their career. Those doctors who had lower IQ and bad academic qualifications would have a disadvantage when they started their career. But the number of times they completed mock test papers or the number of surgeries they performed would still decide whether they could do well during their national college entrance examination or whether they could possess great skills in surgery.
Doctors who could perform ten to twenty surgeries in a week were considered as average level students in terms of completing mock test papers. They were around 10% better than other students who did not solve any mock test papers. However, if they could perform more than twenty surgeries in a week, their lives would change.
This kind of doctor who could perform at above average when it came to finishing mock test papers might only perform five more surgeries than the average doctor in a week, but if he persisted for three years, that meant that he could perform five hundred more surgeries than the average doctor, and if he persisted for five years, he would have performed more than one thousand surgeries than the average doctor. By then, they would, at the very least, be among the top 5% in a certain medical field.
And Ren Qi and Ye Sigong who worked at county hospitals were the type of students who did not attempt to solve mock test papers.
They could not even complete ten surgeries within a week. They usually only performed five surgery cases. After some time, they could only become normal attending physicians. They might have more experience in serving as the chief surgeons than the resident doctors of a large hospital, or they might even have performed more surgeries than these resident doctors from large hospitals because of their age, but they were considered as weak and were completely inferior when compared to the attending physicians of tertiary Grade A hospitals.
But, Ling Ran did not bother about these matters.
Now, regardless of which skill he used, his skill would be at least at Master Level. If this were a national college entrance examination, he would be the teacher who set the examination questions.
If he focused on a single aspect, he still had many ways to train Ren Qi and Ye Sigong.
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