Thursday, June 04, 2009

More News of Stellar Treatment from France's Health Care System

Today I had an interesting conversation with a French doctor who is now a director of a retirement home. Two people died on the same day this week, one of whom had donated his body to science, the other who insisted on being buried in a traditional tomb. At the very last minute, she says, she worried (about her not-so-smart employees), decided to double-check, and saw that the bodies had been switched and were headed for the wrong destinations.
Not a big deal (except if the surviving members of the traditional-minded man had had the coffin opened at the last moment), and, to tell the truth, rather funny…

More to the point: While visiting her husband's parents' home in the French countryside several years ago (before the introduction of the Euro and of cel phones), the husband fell through a window pane (he was building a tree house for the kids) and cut his leg open to the bone.

Immediately they jumped (well, she did; he seems to have been a bit slower) into the car and drove to the hospital. Upon arriving at the emergency room, bleeding and with his bone visible, he was whisked in front of everybody.

So far, so good. The woman then asked to use the phone to tell the parents that all would be well. Do you have any francs, she was asked. No, came the (edgy) answer, with her husband's leg open and bleeding profusely, the doctor had not really thought of taking her handbag with her. Her demand for permission to (briefly) use the hospital phone was denied! And so, she says, she had to go around the waiting room begging for money to use the pay phone.

The nurse also demanded to see… her husband's social security card. Somewhat edgily (again), the woman replied that she hadn't really had the time either to think of taking the social security card with them when they had to rush to the hospital and that — for all that she knew — they (the couple) had left them in Paris. That's when the nurses started making derogatory remarks about Parigots (slang for Parisians) and how they ought to stay home and not come out and bother people en province

But: apart from that, everybody always receives stellar treatment (five stars, I tell you) in Europe's health care…

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