Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turtle Bites and Other Common Injuries

            How many of you have had to seek medical treatment for a turtle bite? Don’t be shy. There’s no shame in admitting that you were bitten by a turtle. Hmm, no hands are waving in the air.

Well then, how many of you have had to seek medical treatment because you were struck by a turtle? Now you just look puzzled. You’re trying to figure out exactly how a turtle might strike a person, and how it could possibly deliver such a vicious blow that it would land a person in the hospital. The only thing I can imagine is that the turtle in question had mutated while living in the sewer and now calls himself Leonardo, Rafael, Michelangelo, or Donatello. Those turtles tend to be pretty tough when they get to be teenagers, and they’re experts in the martial arts.
But in the unlikely event that you do happen to get bitten or struck by a turtle and you find yourself in the emergency room, you don’t have to worry about a thing. Starting in October 2013, Obama-care will have you covered. Today, doctors have to make do with a mere 18,000 codes to inform the insurance company of your diagnosis. In 2013, doctors will have 140,000 to choose from! I bet doctors love that. OK, you’re right. I bet doctors hate that.

Anyway, two of the 140,000 codes are “bitten by a turtle” and “struck by a turtle.” No, I’m not making that up. There are also 71 specific codes for injury by bird, depending on the type of injury and the kind of bird you’ve run afowl…excuse me…afoul of. (Do you suppose there’s a code for injury by bad pun? I hope they’ve thought of that one.)

           So are you looking forward to the implementation of Obama-care as much as my doctor and I are? Making a complex system even more outrageously complex is one of the few things the federal government does well. I sure hope I don’t get sick in 2013. Of course, if I get struck by a turtle, that’s a different story.