June 20, 2005

good words for the French....

I was sceptical when Andrew Cory said nice things about the French medical system, in a comment here. But perhaps he was right. Natalie Solent has this to say:

...Some of John Weidner's commenters mention the French system. Although it slightly spoils my free-market rant to say so, I must say that when my husband bashed his leg on holiday we were extremely impressed by the kindness and efficiency we saw. The doctor, who came out to the roadside where my husband was sitting unable to walk, refused payment. Not worth his while to do the paperwork, or just a nice guy? I don't know. Actually he was an exceptionally nice guy whatever. The hospital was clean and relatively uncrowded. Waiting time for an X-ray: twenty minutes. (Waiting time in Blighty for an X-ray of my daughter's broken arm: six hours. She had to go without food and water for all that time in case they had to operate.) After our return to England were billed by the French hospital for about £30. To be that low the fee must be heavily subsidised, but I suggest that the fact that there is some fee does great good. I paid it with gratitude.

I shall think some kindly thoughts about the French.

I'm reminded of the time I had a kidney stone, which is very painful. I took good care for granted, but was surprised by the kindly solicitude of the two emergency room docs. Turns out they had both had kidney stones themselves. They felt my pain!

* Update: Actually, I often think kindly thoughts about the French. Unfortunately, usually in the past tense. As a dweller among history books, I've absorbed the old American view of France as a wise and charming uncle. A recent book I enjoyed, by the way, was Lamy of Santa Fe, about the French missionary who went to New Mexico in the 1840's, eventually becoming Archbishop of a vast wild frontier realm, recruiting scores of French priests and nuns and Christian Brothers to aid him. It was Lamy that Willa Cather portrayed in fictional form in her splendid book Death Comes For the Archbishop.

Posted by John Weidner at June 20, 2005 5:49 AM
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