Why Emergency Room Doctors Can Not Treat Cancer–A Post To Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis

As we all know the political climate in this country is way different than it has been in a long time. Without getting too much into it, I think most people would probably agree that overall people are just paying more attention. We follow news stories and try to stay up to date. We know the people who are part of the White House Staff and of our state government. I admit I never really paid much attention to politics or to what politicians said after the election was over, until now.

Every day, my blood boils when I think about what Republican Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis said last week (I don’t even live in Florida). He suggested that losing insurance is ok, even if you have cancer because you can “just go to the emergency room to get care.”  It was in the news only for a day or two and didn’t get too much attention. But I heard it and have been pretty angry about it since.

This post is to him (or anyone else who agrees with him) to explain why going to the ER is simply not an option for cancer treatment.

Although I’m not a doctor or nurse, I unfortunately know a lot about cancer. Well pediatric cancer. See my daughter was diagnosed  a while back. The only thing worse than getting cancer while your children are still young, is if one of your children gets cancer, while they are still young.


She was diagnosed about 7 months ago and since then our lives consists of doctors appointments and lengthy inpatient hospital stays (please don’t ask me about what her diagnosis or prognosis is. She has what doctors consider a “bad” kind of cancer, but since I believe that all cancers are bad, I don’t like to get into that part of it).

The good thing is, cancer treatments have improved in recent years (even slighlty for pediatric cancer, but not that much since only 4% of government spending for cancer goes to children’s cancer research). But what doctors do know, is that even if they can cure your child’s cancer, the treatments themselves can have a devastating effect to your child’s organs. Many people (not just kids) who die of cancer, don’t actually die from cancer. They don’t have a cancer cell in their body.  They die from malnutrition. Their organs can not digest food anymore. Their organs are either too damaged from the treatment, or sometimes they throw up so much that they starve. As you can guess this is problematic. This is something everyone wants to prevent if possible.

There is a way to prevent this. It is called TPN or total parenteral nutrition. This is nutrition that goes directly into a vein. It completely bypasses the normal route of the digestive system. My daughter uses tpn. I set it up for her every night and it runs for 12 hours. She has not be able to tolerate food for months and this is her only option to get nutrition for now.

It has saved her life.



TPN supplies

This is not the best pic but this is what the supplies look like. On the left is the tpn bag itself and it has all the nutrients in it that she needs. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc. Then there’s vitamins that I inject into the bag. The bag hooks up to a pump, which hooks into her port.



This shows a port. Ports are used for tpn, to give medications, and for chemo.


A port is a small device in her chest that works like an iv.



Tpn pump




This is the tpn pump. The tpn bag hooks into this pump, and controls how fast the nutrition goes through her veins. It takes 12 hours a day.





tpn backpack



This is the tpn backpack. This is what the pump, bag and all additional supplies go into, so everything is portable. It allows her to not spend 12 hours a day hooked up to an iv pole (Yes, my daughter has an iv pole in her room. Once you let that thought sink in a minute, it’s very easy to realize that cancer is a serious illness that can not be treated in an emergency room).




This is our special refrigerator for tpn,vitamins and medications.

I have a special refrigerator for her tpn, and everything is delivered to our house on a weekly basis. The reason we only have 7 bags of tpn at a time is because each bag is made specifically for her. Her needs may change week by week. One week she may need more lipids, the next week maybe she needs more vitamins, etc. The doctors decide how much of each nutrient go into the tpn bag based on her weekly blood tests, which are done at her weekly oncology appointment–NOT THE EMERGENCY ROOM. If I walked into the emergency room with her and said, “Hi Dr. We’re here so you can put together her weekly tpn supplies real quick”–the dr. would look at me like I was a weirdo. You know why? Because emergency room doctors do not put together tpn bags for patients. This is something that takes time, and is discussed at routine appointments.

Generally people who go to the emergency room require emergency care. Believe it or not, cancer is a chronic condition. This means it will not go away by itself and even treatment takes a long time. But cancer itself is not considered an emergency–hence the emergency room is not necessary.

The emergency room is used for things like broken bones, if you were in an accident, or have a heart attack–things that need immediate treatment. In other words, things that are not chronic conditions. My sons have been to the emergency room for broken fingers and toes from rough- housing. My other family members have been to the emergency room for pain that lead to them being admitted for surgery. However, I have never been to the emergency room so my daughter can get cancer treatment. Emergency room doctors don’t treat cancer.

Obamacare was meant to discourage people without insurance to go to the emergency room by providing insurance they could afford, so they would call their primary care doctor for issues. But hey, since the current administration is into moving backwards, why not encourage everyone to go to the emergency room. Cancer is no big deal right?

I know I said I wasn’t going to get too political but I just can’t let his remark go. While I’m glad that on one hand that, apparently cancer has not affected his life, it has unfortunately affected many others. I think it’s absolutely horrifying that we have some people in government, who are so uneducated and ignorant to the facts of serious health issues that some of us face every single day.

These government people from #45 all the way down to local government can not make informed decisions about things they know nothing about. They can not throw around comments suggesting that people can just go to the emergency room to get treatment for cancer. All of their sheeple will believe any word they say, and the downward spiral that this country is headed into because of that is staggering.

My hope with this post was just to shed a little light on what life is like for families who have a child with cancer. Our lives revolve around our child’s care, but people in this situation never just run to the emergency room. While I hope in my heart of hearts that there will be a cure for all cancers someday, I have theories on why the government will never let that be. But maybe I’ll save that for my next post.

Thanks for reading-



Photo Credits-flag, band aid, kid, life, staircase





About ldellavella

Lindsay Della Vella BS, COC is the founder and owner of Midnight Medical Coding. Our goal is to provide education to diagnostic radiology coders.
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2 Responses to Why Emergency Room Doctors Can Not Treat Cancer–A Post To Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis

  1. Annette Blazes says:

    Well said Lindsay, I agree with every word you wrote. You are truly my hero.


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