“Dr. Matthew Wetschler can no longer practice medicine. Matthew Wetschler is a Stanford-trained emergency room doctor. He’s also a friend,” Christina Farr writes over at CNBC. “In November 2017 while surfing in San Francisco near his home in Ocean Beach, he hit his head hard on a shallow sand bar and broke his neck. He was later told that his heart had stopped for about 10 minutes. But in a stroke of luck, a fellow surfer who is also a nurse found him and rushed him to the emergency room. While in the ambulance on route to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, Wetschler was given CPR to keep him alive. On his arrival, it became clear that he had a severe spinal cord injury that could leave him permanently unable to move his arms and legs. But neurosurgeons performed an operation that involved fusing metal rods to his vertebrae, while at the same time sending blood flow to his spinal cord. His recovery over the subsequent months astounded his care team, as Wetschler threw himself into physical and occupational therapy for hours every day to relearn how to walk. That’s where the story should end. A doctor makes a miraculous recovery, proving that spinal cord injuries are not permanent and irreversible. Modern medicine is truly amazing. But there’s a dark side to the system, which Wetschler reminded me of when we met for lunch last week. He can no longer practice medicine, so he’s focusing on creative pursuits like writing and art while continuing his physical therapy. What’s causing him the most pain these days isn’t his injury. It’s the constant phone calls from debt collectors to harangue him about medical bills.” Christina Farr, “Doctor suffers accident, ends up with $27,000 going to debt collection,” CNBC.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder