Michelle is Trapped in Pain by the "Free" NHS!

My dear friend Michelle is an American who moved to Belfast, Ireland after being swept off her feet by a dashing Irishman.  She began to have pain in August of last year in her back, which she tried to manage while trying to figure out what it might be related to.  As the next months wore on, the pain got worse, until she sought medical help from the "free" NHS (National Health System) in Belfast.   

This is the part where Americans who want socialized medicine cheer and say something like "at least she doesn't have to worry about affording medical care".  Not so fast, please read on.  Since she sought "free" care in December, she has been bedridden for many hours of the day in pain.  Since she sought "free" care in December, the only thing that has occurred is she was given a sonogram which showed clearly she has horrific gallstones that need to be removed.  THAT is what has her in unending pain.  They gave her opiates and an "urgent" referral to a surgeon for an evaluation.  As of February 16th, she has NOT been called by the surgeons office for her evaluation.  Not surgery, mind you, JUST AN EVALUATION.  She remains in horrific pain on a daily basis, many days unable to get out of bed.  She has a neighbor who is an ER physician in the NHS and she reached out to him to see if he had any advice for her, and he told her this as part of a longer message:

"With regards to surgery it's unfortunately really frustrating for people in your position as the waiting list for surgery can be over a year from the initial surgical outpatient review (and that was before covid.)  if the pain is unbearable, or you're vomiting, or you're having temperatures my advice would be to go to an emergency department.  Unfortunately, this again doesn't guarantee you'll get a scan or surgery." (emphasis mine)

Remember, she hasn't even HAD the initial surgical outpatient review that was requested in DECEMBER.  So we began to investigate other options.  She discovered that she can pay to have a PRIVATE surgical center take out her gallbladder NOW.  However it will cost about 8,000 pounds, which is about $11,000 US.  

Michelle is one of my favorite people in the WORLD.  She would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it, though it might smell vaguely of patchouli, and is LOATHE to ask for help.  She simply will not do it.  But when I suggested this fundraiser, she reluctantly agreed because the thought of living with the pain she is living with for OVER A YEAR is simply too much.  She and her husband simply can't afford 8,000 pounds, but I know my people can help.  

This story is a real story and cautionary tale of socialized medicine.  Michelle is a real person in horrible pain because of socialized medicine.  Please help me help her by getting her stupid gall bladder out BEFORE it bursts and causes multiple issues.  You can also share this story to fight the notion that socialized medicine is heaven on earth at the same time.   

Just as an fyi, if someone comes to the ER in the US with a gallbladder attack, it is recommended that the surgery wait no more than 72 hours to avoid complications .  But I'm sure over a year will be just fine.  Not.  And yes, a ruptured gallbladder CAN kill you, in case you were wondering.

THE DONATIONS WILL BE TAKEN FROM YOUR ACCOUNT IN DOLLARS AND THEN CONVERTED TO POUNDS STERLING so I can distribute them directly to her husband in Belfast.  Here are some common donations and the current currency exchange rate, rounded off for simplicity:

10 pounds is $14
15 pounds is $21
20 pounds is $28
30 pounds is $42
50 pounds is $70
75 pounds is $105
100 pounds is $140

These are rough conversions based on exchange rates on Feb 16th.  If you'd like to run a current conversion for a different amount use this link 

Thanks for your support, any donation gets her one step closer to getting the fast care that we take for granted here.  

Donations (102)

  • Anonymous
    • £50 
    • 3 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Mandy Connell
H R Taylor

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