JP Bader

Friday's Joke -- Or -- A Commentary on Healthcare Costs*

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, "I'm sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."

The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?" "Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead," replied the vet..

"How can you be so sure?" she protested. "I mean you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something." The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet called into the hall, "Angie, we got one." A young woman came into the room, looked the duck over, wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to the doctor. "Thanks Angie, will you send Collin in here?"

A man walked in with a telescope. He stood across the room and stared at the duck before taking a polaroid picture, handed the picture to the doc, and walked out of the room.

Suddenly the doctor stood up, grabbed the stool he was sitting on, lifted it over his head and slammed it down on the duck as hard as he could. The duck flopped under the impact, but remained limp.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman..

The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill.

"$12,000!" she cried, "$12,000 just to tell me my duck is dead!"

The vet shrugged, "I'm sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, the Angie-ogram, the Collinoscopy and the Stool analysis it's now $12,000."

While the joke is long, it has 2 takeaways:

1) The patient refused to listen to reason and blindly assumed they were getting the best care, regardless of the outcome. As consumers of our healthcare, we can always do better to be rationale and ask about costs as we go along with our healthcare usage.

2) The Vet kept adding on un-necessary services without informing the patient about the costs involved. As providers, we have a responsibility to be as transparent as possible, so our patients/clients aren't surprised/shocked/angered/disappointed by a bill that might be reasonable (for the services rendered) but beyond anyone's expectations.

Have a happy day!


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