US vs. French hospitals

 You might be surprised at what I found in a few hospitals recently. My wife spent time in a large French hospital. Then she entered a large American hospital. The French hospital was run by the government. The American one was privately run.

First, under the government system, patients seem to be numbers to the docs. Doctors do not have to have bedside manners. They don’t need to establish friendly relations with patients. They don’t have to know your name. They get paid anyway. And I suspect they don’t know the names of most of their patients.

Patients don’t talk about Dr. Francois and Dr. Bernard. They talk about “The Specialist” or “The Doctor.” Americans tend to know something about their docs and vice-versa.

The French hospital has over 1000 beds. In four days I saw not a single fat nurse. In the American hospital I once-in-a-while saw a slender nurse. (If you are a fat nurse don’t get mad at me. I didn’t criticize your size and I didn’t make you fat. I just calls ‘em as I sees ‘em. In America the hospital elevators are enormous to accommodate hospital beds as well as ...)



In the French hospital the cafeteria for the public would fit into two bedrooms in your house. As you know, when planners lay out a new hospital in the U.S. they begin with the cafeteria. That is ground zero, Fort Knox, the tabernacle, hallowed ground. Once they have that on paper they add less-important stuff like operating rooms and cancer treatment areas.

The French hospital was quiet. Fewer staff than in the American hospital. There were many places for non-patients to escape the noise. The American hospital had no place to escape noise. Except the rest room. That was the only place where there was no friggin’ television blaring. Sooner or later the rest rooms will have wall-sized screens, I’m certain.

The check-in areas. The lounges. The quiet lounges. The family lounges. The eating areas. The emergency room waiting areas.  The hallways. They all have screens. I will have to change my view about how the planners proceed. They don’t add the operating rooms and cancer areas second – after they plot the cafeteria. They add the television screens. After all the screens are in place, THEN they move on to planning the trivial Emergency Department.

You might think the reason screens are everywhere is because Americans are addicted to television. They are. But that is not the reason. People will sit for two-hours gazing at space waiting for the garage to fix their muffler. The screens are there because the hospitals are prostitutes. They take the money from the advertising people who plant the screens everywhere. You can watch your favorite show plus a hundred commercials while they pluck out your gall bladder. “Your lobotomy is brought to you by …”

In the French hospital when they release a patient they simply say “Au revoir.” No paperwork. No forms. No wrist band to snip. No wheelchair to the front door. No pampering. No review of your drugs. Just “We’re done here.”

They don’t even tell you to take your things. And most of the things in the room will be yours. That’s because they don’t give you booties or towels or soap or toothpaste or bathrobe. You provide that stuff.

We were told that in many wards in the French hospital, the meal service includes a bottle of wine. No wine in the cardiac area. Always at the wrong place when they hand out the goodies.  

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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