This is not a nice story so be warned.
A few months ago a man and his wife came into one of the hospitals that I work at. He was very upset and so was she. He had an accident in the beginning of the year, and as he could not afford the $35 co-pay did not go to see the doctor. Now months later in the hospital the ER doc's told him that he was going to loose both of his legs below the knee. They also said that if he had gotten checked out when the accident happened he would not be in this position.
He has to have the operation or he will not live. So the papers as signed, the date is set. However, before he goes in there are some questions that have to be asked and answered so that he can be better taken care of and get the right medication.
Keep in mind he has a job, a wife, health insurance but can not afford the co-pay.
So the standard questions are asked. Do you have any medication allergies? Then eventually the social questions are asked. These may seem invasive but they do help look of and stop potential problems both during and after the operation. Like needing nicotine replacement. So on to the social questions.
Do you smoke and do you drink? Yep to both. I do remember that he said each night he drank 2 big glasses of vodka. When asked how big he said about the size of a large soda glass. But he could not spend the copay to save his legs.
Sometimes I really really hate my job. Although it is not my job that I hate it the the choices people make.