Monday, 11 October 2010

Where is the Best and Just Medical Care in the World?

FRANCE of course..
A mother is a little anxious that her Little One, 11 months and 17 days old, who has not been sick the entire year has a runny nose and a weeping eye. Coughs but no Fever. The discharge from the nose and the eyes are clear. Being unaccustomed to the Little one, now coughing, she requests an emergency appointment with the local Paediatrician. She called the doctor at 9 30 am and was granted an appointment for the child at 3 45 pm.
The Little One arrives at the consulting rooms of the paediatrician which is on the first floor of a residential building. There are no secretaries or hum of a railway station with people milling around, like I saw in a Gastroenterologists office in Miami, all wearing white coats assigned various jobs, mainly collecting money. There was no one waiting in the waiting room, soon the doctor appears, Bon Jour and come in...It is now 3 40 pm. There are no multiple appointments or overbooking in France, in general and you are seen closer to when you are told you would be seen. The MD checks the child,oral exam, nasal exam, looks into the ears, listens to the heart and the lungs. A few questions and a clinical diagnosis of simple Rhinitis is made. Are you willing to take Homeopathic medications? asks the MD, and prescribes homeopathic eye drops, and four kinds of homepathic pills to be taken at frequent intervals, they are not pills in the regular sense but small pellets which runs out of tubes of medications. A nasal spray is also prescribed in case there is any difficulty in breathing in the coming days, should the child get worse.
The normal fees for consultation with a paediatrician is 28 euros and this time 3 euros was added on because it was an emergency consultation! 31 euros total. You pay the MD and she gives you a preprepared form in which she writes down the name of the patient, the amount paid and her signature. When you send it in to the Social Security, a similar amount is added to your bank account. In fact, today's consultation does not cost the mother any money.
She walks to the nearest pharmacy, In fact there are six pharmacies within walking distance and in Paris, the flashing green signs of pharmacies are a common sight. The prescription and the social security card (Vitale) is given to the assistant, who enters that in the computer and then takes off tubes of homeopathic medications off the shelf. The nasal spray the only concession to western medicine is to be given only if the condition is getting worse. Eye drops were single use containers packed in sums of twenty. The cost of the above prescriptions, should you have no social security as in the case of a visitor from a non EU country..Eye drops 5.15 Euros Nasal Drops 4.19 euros the homeopathic medications were 1.80 euros each, altogehter it would have set a non french person back 17 euros! But since the child is French and the mother is employed, her absolute cost for all the medications were a mere 5.15 euros! In fact the entire urgent expedition to the Paediatrician cost the parent 5 euros! including a consultation and the medications..
Imagine this child with parents who have medical insurance was to get sick in Miami? You can bet that the aggressive medical system there would have included a throat swab, perhaps an Xray and definitely a blood test of some sort and of course the consultation with the paediatrician who could be about one hour late! in the mean time you would be interviewed by the Insurance clerks and also a nurse would have seen and taken all the measurements of the child.
Even if you had insurance, it could set you back 200 dollars for the consultation and the medications. God Forbid, you decided to walk into the Emergency Room of the Baptist hospital, the same consultation which cost the parents 5 euros ie 6.50 us dollars,in France, would end up with multitudes of bills amounting to about 2000 us dollars.
So before you knock the Frenchies, just remember, they have the best health care system in teh world, it is just in that, no one is discriminated because of lack of insurance or income. Like their educational system, which is slightly more elititst, they can take pride of their medical system.
For those doctors practicing in India or Malaysia or Singapore or Thailand or Cambodia or Vietnam, and who wish to follow the American System (results from USA are no better in any field except perhaps in Oncology!), please think of your patients and follow the french system whereby you make clinical diagnosis, do as few tests as possible, and prescribe medications that dont kill the patients ... and dont empty their bank accounts by using a system which is only marginally shown to be better than systems that are so much more humanistic and caring and gentle and less aggressive..