A PARABLE

I’d like to share a story with a happy ending.

Once upon a time there was a bad man. He did unspeakable things to an innocent victim and was proclaimed mentally ill and placed in a psychiatric hospital for criminals. The bad man had a history of brief episodes of chest pain lasting less than a half minute that occurred randomly since age 12. When he hit his early forties, a medical practitioner at the hospital decided he was old enough that he should now get an expensive test to make sure that it wasn’t his heart. So two guards drove him to the test and it was normal. Over the next two years he continued to get occasional episodes of chest pain, just like the ones he’d had for the past thirty years. So this time, the cost-conscious institution decided to send him to a nurse practitioner. She decided that the man should see an expensive heart specialist to make sure that the long-standing, fleeting chest pains weren’t his heart.

The specialist, fifteen seconds into the history, knew that fleeting chest pains that hurt more when he took a breath or moved his body and that had been around off and on for over thirty years and was accompanied by a normal heart test only two years earlier was not his heart. But he dutifully gathered all the information and examined the man and assured him that it wasn’t his heart. He was taken back to the hospital by the guards so he could continue to be incarcerated. The specialist wondered if the next time the man would be taken to a doctor who would realize that the pain couldn’t be his heart, and not do any more tests or send him to see any more specialists at great expense to the weary taxpayer, uh, I mean fairy godmother.

Oh, and the happy ending? The specialist received his tax rebate, uh, I mean golden treasure, and lived happily ever after.

Isn’t that a nice story?

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