EUGENE - In a bold move, Oregon's legislature has passed a new law, similar to those in other states, requiring invasive procedures to be performed before certain medical services can be rendered.
There has been some controversy about the new law. We spoke with a patient named Kim Smith, who gave us the horrifying details of the new procedure.DISCLAIMER: Okay, for the three of you who haven't yet figured it out, yes, it's snark. NOTHING in the preceding blockquotes is true. Not one word.
"I can't believe they're going to do this to me." Kim Smith said. "It's just horrible. I think the legislature of this state has overstepped its bounds!"
One of the legislators who sponsored this bill, Senator Dick Johnson, is also a medical doctor. He explained the procedures to us, and the reasoning behind the legislation. Dr. Johnson had agreed to help with the first few patients who were mandated to receive these procedures.
"Many of our patients come in here looking for certain kinds of pills, or medical procedures," he explained "and they are often unnecessary. Our reasoning is that if you are going to ask for those pills or procedures, we want to be absolutely assured that you have a valid, medical reason for needing them."
We asked Dr. Johnson if perhaps that wasn't a bit of an overreach - don't patients have the right to get the pills, or have these procedures done if they wish? Didn't he think it was government interference, making it a requirement for patients to undergo these invasive procedures especially just to get a pill?
Dr. Johnson replied "These pills that you're talking about - the ones you say should be easy to get - they have a real impact on society. They have an impact on the population, and on our culture. Look around. How can we just let people do these things indiscriminately?"
We talked a bit more, and Dr. Johnson calmed down a bit, and finally explained the invasive procedures to us, and the reasoning behind them.
"What happens" he said "is that we first want to ascertain that the patient has no pre-existing medical problem that might be exacerbated by the use of these pills. So we do a rectal ultrasound. The wand is a little bit large, but it's necessary to check for prostate problems before we continue."
And then Dr. Johnson went on "Next, we do a penile catheterization, to assure that there are no blockages in the ducts. Lastly, we give the testicles an X-Ray, while they are gently squeezed between metal plates - rather like a mammogram. We need to be sure that there are no tumors. Erectile dysfunction medications are known to increase the size of any extant tumors, so we have to protect ourselves and the patient, and assure that we're not making things worse."
Dr. Johnson then informed us that those who successfully complete all these invasive procedures would then be cleared to receive a prescription for whatever erectile dysfunction medication they had requested.
"Oh" he said "And we give them a gift certificate for pancakes, at IHOP when they're done. As a gesture of goodwill."
We caught up with Kim Smith, after he had finished his medical visit, to follow up with him on how it had gone.
He stumbled over to us in a crouching sort of walk, looking uncomfortable, clutching a crumpled prescription in his hand..
His eyes were moist. "It was awful. Awful! And if you ask me, the tech who gave me the ultrasound was very flippant about the whole thing. Just rammed it up my - (Censored for our more sensitive audience)!"
We told him about the gift certificate, and for some reason his face went pale. As he walked away, we heard him mutter something about "IHOP. Yeah, IHOP alright. Pancakes. God!"
At that moment, Dr. Johnson approached Mr. Smith, and we overheard the two of them talking. Mr. Smith expressed relief that the ordeal was at last over, and now he could go eat his "damned pancakes" (his words) and be done with it. "At least" he said "I don't have to go through THIS again!"
Dr. Johnson looked puzzled for a moment, and then responded "You do understand that you'll have to undergo these procedures again when you want a refill?"
Mr. Smith screamed, yelled something we can't print here, and fainted. Doctors at the hospital tell us he'll be okay.
We were glad to hear that.
But I think most of you will understand why I wrote it.