Monday, May 15, 2006

My Assistant Gets a Break

Zen Buddhist and I talked about a girl's night out on Friday night. We were going to a nearby pub with friends to hear one of our favorite bands and catch up with everyone. In the end I wasn't feeling well and didn't go, but Zen went on without me.

On Saturday, she called. "Hey Saur, let me ask your advice about something," she began. She had been minding her own business, had been walking from one part of the pub to another, when a drunken waitress slammed into her, knocking her down. Remember, Zen is already in frail health.

The waitress apologized, slurring her words and staggering slightly. "You alright?" she asked.

"Get away from me!" Zen said, crossly, as other people helped her up. She was in a lot of pain, her wrist especially was hurting.

A little while later, the waitress came by. "See that guy on the dance floor?" she said, indicating a sloppy drunk. Her esses were soft, as she strove to sound sober.

"Uh, yeah?" replied Zen, tentatively.

"Well, don' dance wit' him," pronounced the waitress. "He's the one tha' pushed me into you. I think he's really drunk."

Oh yes, brilliant save. It's so brilliant that it scintillates, gleaming, in all it's sparkling glory. Not!

Zen may be blond, but the peroxide hasn't permeated the scalp yet. The waitress should've tried the old "space aliens temporarily possessed my body." Zen believes in space aliens, and there's a .001% chance that she might buy that one.

The pain worsened, so she shortened her evening and went home early.

The next day, her wrist hurt even more and she was nearly in tears. She was calling to ask if she should go to the hospital, when she couldn't afford it. "Yes! Go!" I said.

"But... I can't get ahold of the owner," she said. "I've been calling his cell phone and it won't allow me to leave a message."

"Do you have witnesses?" I asked.

"Oh yeah, tons of them," she said. "I got lots of names and numbers. They're willing to swear that the waitress was drunk. But I can't afford the hospital!"

"You need to go, it could be fractured," I said. "Besides, that's what their general liability insurance is for. And if they don't have it, you can sue the business itself."

So she went. And it was fractured. I have her set up to see my attorney today.

In the meantime, Zen is still fighting her newly diagnosed diabetes and now has something else which has set her back. It is very frustrating for her, but Zen's a trooper. I'm trying to think of ways to get her back working for me as soon as possible. I think I'll get her set up with a tape recorder so that she can dictate her notes.

She only works part time for me (about 10 hours a week) and she's a 1099 (she sets her own hours and days) but perhaps I can put her on payroll through my other company and give her the option of health insurance. It's something I hadn't considered before.


Miss Cellania said...

Oh man, that hurts. Give her my best. Broken wrist... and she doesn't have health insurance. Its the pits.

Mindless Dribbler said...

Ouch. Sorry for your friends pain but it sounds as if she has a rightful claim to the medical expenses...considering the witnesses and stuff.

mal said...

sheeesh, a drunk waitress? The owner needs to get a handle on things!

Sadly, health insurance does not cure the current problem but hopefully your attorney can get it resolved quickly

It is good of you to watch out for her

Ed Abbey said...

I haven't been to a bar in ages and I don't miss it at all. I just never enjoyed being in a room full of drunks slurring their words and thinking they were God's gift to mankind.

My one beer that I drink while grilling at home with my wife seems a lot more enjoyable.

Scott said...

That is really rough. The medical system over there kind of freaks me out. Terrible that she had to be pushed to go to the hospital because she was worried about not being able to afford it, that is sad.


Saur♥Kraut said...

Scott, isn't that the truth? Our medical system sux. There are times when we can't leave certain things (such as healthcare) to corporations. We need a reasonable national health care system. But part of the reason our costs are up are due to the uninsured. They have a guarantee of treatment at the hospitals (rightly so) but there must be a better alternative. Additionally, illegal aliens are GREATLY contributing to this problem.

...more soon...

Notsocranky Yankee said...

Sorry to hear about Zen's wrist. It's good she got it looked at right away.
She's lucky to have you in her corner!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Notsocranky, Maybe not. Perhaps I'm jinxing her! ;o)

Ed, yeah, bars aren't worth much. But the band is what we were going for.

Mallory, thanks. She had a good meeting with the attorney, and he took the case. It's an easy win!

Mindless, yeah, the attorney took the case, which means he's completely confident in a good settlement.

Miss C, See my comments to Scott about health insurance. Happily, this was someone else's fault. And, it may be for the best, since she's still struggling with the diabetes and may not have been able to go back to work yet. Now this will cover her time out.

Ed Abbey said...

Can't wait for the post on national healthcare. My wife worked as a doctor in a country that has national healthcare and she never wants to go back. It was a complete zoo and it is a modern nation (England). After visiting and hearing her stories, I like our health care system just fine. Maybe caps on malpractice suits wouldn't be too bad.

michelle said...

You hit a topic I know something about. Your friend did the right thing going to the ER. That was an emergency. You said, “They have a guarantee of treatment at the hospitals (rightly so)…” I want to add to that. While we do have the right to treatment we do not have the right to FREE treatment. Do not think for one minute if you do not pay your bill or may payment arrangements that a hospital debt will not hurt your credit. It will hurt your credit, your credit score, and it may stop you from getting a car or home.

Where I work we are starting a new process for our ER, very soon. We will have a doctor seeing the patients for free to determine if a patient has a true emergency. Patients 2 and under will be seen no matter what. Patients 65 and older will be seen no matter what. A doctor will see patients that walk in or come by ambulance. If your injury or illness is an emergency you will go to a room. If your injury or illness is not an emergency the doctor will say something like this, “The good news is your injury or illness is not emergent. The bad news is if you want to be seen any further you will need to see the registrar to be registered and pay upfront for a doctor’s visit.”

Notice: No staff, the doctor, or any other employee will ask insurance questions until a doctor sees the patient to determine if you have a true emergency. If the patient is sent to a room with an emergency a doctor will treat the patient regardless of insurance or means to pay. No patient in the ER being seen for an emergency will be asked about insurance or asked for money until a doctor has seen the patient for their emergency.

I am ready for the questions and the spoiled tomatoes to be thrown now.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Michelle, I'm glad you mentioned this. We spoke about this very topic the other day, didn't we? It will be interesting to see what is said.

Ed, Ohhh, I don't say it would be easy or the best solution possible, by any means. I just feel that we are in a terrible quandry. A great many of our jobs are being sent overseas or given under the table to illegal aliens, which drives the cost of wages (and availability of jobs) down. That leaves the American worker with less money than ever to pay for health care. At the same time, health care costs go up. And as good as caps sound, how can we determine ahead of time what is a "valid" amount of money for a particular type of claim? I am wary of that.

michelle said...

You have no idea how many people will fly here to the US for surgery or other treatment. They pay for a ticket and hotel and the self-pay rate. This is even when they do have health insurance. Canada and England are the top two.

There are people from other countries (all over the world) that come here on "vacation", get sick and go to our ER's. We kindly admit these patients, treat these patients, and then they run back home without paying one dime. This irritates the heck out of me.

Ed Abbey said...

You are certainly right Michelle. If people are willing to fly from around the world to see our doctors and use our health care system, it can't be all bad.

Saur - I have more to say on this topic but I'll restrain myself until you post on it.

mckay said...

let zen know it'll probably be all right. i broke my right wrist (ice skating, of all things) i was able to go back to work, type (awkwardly) while wearing a cast, and i got pretty darn good at writing with my left hand. now there's even dictation software available: you digitally record it, download it into your computer and the software transcribes it. amazing.

hope the whole legal thing works out okay. i hate having to deal with lawyers. ewu.

Edge said...

That's nice of you. I hope that she feels better and has better luck.


Ellen said...

What the heck was the owner/ manager of the bar doing letting his waitress work drunk? That in itself is a major no-no! I can see where this is an easy open/ shut case for the lawyer.

I send my best wishes for Zens quick recovery as well.
Poor thing, she's been having a rough time of it lately.

Mr. Fabulous said...

Damn, I've never been in a place where the waitresses were drunk. Weird.

Beaver said...

that totally sux. and you're a cool boss. (but we all know that)

Give Z my best and take care !

(By the way, the waitress may be liable too.)

Much love,


R2K said...

Really depressing...

The Lazy Iguana said...

I would love to see a system that charges a percentage of you net worth for health care - with all insurance banned.

You can bet that as soon as some rich and powerful person was told "yea I can fix your broken leg, but it will cost you 60% of your net worth" things would change quickly.

Badoozie said...

dang, that stinks, but it sounds like a sure win for her.

Nihilistic said...

She is having a bad couple of months!

Anonymous said...

The lazy iguana is right on! I am a pretty conservative person, but this health care system is becoming inhumane! I have changed my opinion on socialized medicine. A recent statistic showing Brits living longer and healthier lives reinforced my change of position. Truthfully, middle income families are finding it impossible to pay for healthcare and are therefore not going to the doctor when needed. For the richest country in the world, this is pretty shameful. I wonder if many of those like myself have changed their opinion too?

Kathleen said...

Saur, that last post was from me. For some reason it would not let me post as other.

michelle said...

You guys do not want national health insurance. We may not have it right, but they don't either.