Hospitals and health care experiences here in Florida

I am an odd duck. I have VA benefits and excellent insurance. I have used more healthcare in the last 12 months than I have in 20 years.

I had a head injury last spring requiring 17 stitches and a Cat Scan. I have had an emergency room visit for chest pain, then cardiology visits and then a stress test. Now scheduled for endoscopy and colonoscopy. (Great heart, still have chest pain.)

Some of this was covered by the VA and some by my insurance. As there is no VA hospital close here, just a clinic, the VA covers emergency and specialty care on the civilian market. However, since the demographic here is so skewed to old people, getting in the old people doctors can be a long wait. (Also, the medical community here was damaged by Hurricane Micheal, there was simply no place the practice for a while, then by Covid as there was no practice allowed, so many doctors moved or retired)

I have traveled to as far as 4 hours to see a good specialist at the VA because the civilian doctors were either booked up or incompetent. My preference is to see a VA doctor.

However, I have made three emergency room visits to the HCA Florida hospitals here. The first a s year ago for the head injury. The wait was long, maybe three hours. The second this winter for chest pain. I had an EKG in under four minutes. The last my wife was injured by a falling board. (We were holding up barn doors and a header and forgot about the header.) She needed 6 stitches above her eye. I think her cover girl career is over.

We went to the new HCA Florida emergency room near our house, the Urgent cares were closed. We were the only ones in the place. The check in and payment was done remotely with an Ipad, The doctor finished stitching her up a out the same time I finished paying.

We are talking fast!



I had a torn blood vessel in one eye on a Sunday and I waited 12 hours in Emergency in Miami (turns out to not be terribly uncommon and it resolved well).

And I went into an ER in Michigan complaining of chest pain and, like you, was wisked in for an immediate EKG.

Triage. Serve the ones with severe issues first. Although my eye issue was primarily a lack of qualified doctors on a Sunday evening.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


Chest pain is most often due to indigestion. Mine is caused by Gerd. Pain goes away instantly with Rolaids. But pills like ranitodine or Prilosec avoid most of it.

Can also be gallbladder. Surgery can be the solution.