The next day, he strategized with my other brother, Curtis, about whether it would be less expensive in the long run to go to an emergency room or to a doctor.
Paul was self-employed, and with preexisting conditions and a baby on the way, couldn't afford health insurance for himself, although he made sure his pregnant fiancée and their baby were covered.
He was a hard-working photographer, caterer, and film-maker — he played "Snake" in "The Real Old Testament," a mockumentary he created together with Curtis that won several awards at film festivals around the world.
Tuesday at dawn, he and Sarah finally went in to the nearby UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. Classic appendicitis. But when they gave him a CAT-scan the doctor decided that maybe it was diverticulitis. So even though he'd been vomiting for two days, they sent him home with antibiotics he couldn't keep down and advice to follow up at the county hospital, in a far-away and unfamiliar part of town.
Standard procedure, we've been told, would have been to admit Paul, since diverticulitis and appendicitis are so easily misdiagnosed for one another, and because that mistake can be deadly.
Sarah brought Paul back to the Santa Monica medical center Tuesday night. They gave him another CAT-scan and talked some more about transferring him to county. They didn't, however, compare the two cat scans, which showed a dramatic and frightening disintegration of Paul's condition.
Paul finally went into surgery Wednesday morning. His ruptured appendix was the worst the surgeon had ever seen.
Paul died at age 45 a little after midnight, August 3, 2006.
I cannot explain how much we miss him. We were not ready to say good-bye.
His baby daughter was two and a half months after his death.
We so need healthcare reform in this country that will allow the United States to join the rest of the developed world. The solution, a single-payer system, is as obvious as civil rights.
Paul shouldn't have died.