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Showing posts from July, 2010

HEALTH CARE: A FOREIGN ENCOUNTER

We arrived at our vacation home on Sunday, May 16th, to celebrate the 60th birthday of my wife Cathey’s twin sisters, Connie and Liz. By Monday morning, Connie had fallen ill with a hacking cough, lung congestion making breathing difficult, and a low-grade fever. By Tuesday, it was clear that Connie needed to see a doctor.

One problem. Our vacation home is in a small village in the south of France. Connie and her husband Paul did not have travel insurance. Cathey and I had never interacted with the French healthcare system. Since I was the only member of our party who spoke more than a few words of French – and I’m by no means fluent – the task of arranging for Connie’s care fell to me.

I was concerned about my ability to communicate. I was concerned about the time that it would take to get the care that Connie needed. I was concerned about the lack of insurance. I was concerned about cost.

As it turned out, none of my concerns were valid. Here’s how it went:

TUESDAY, MAY 18th
• 11:00 …