August 16, 2003

Not to be Outdone

The British NHS may have compassions problems, but in that ever competitive cross-channel rivalry, the French are not to be outdone. If the British can be uncaring, the Frogs can be even more callous.

A British tourist in France was left to die alone in a coma, because neither the French hospital staff nor the French authorities could be arsed to inform his family. Maurice Lee was browsing in a gift shop when he suddenly collapsed from a stroke and was rished to hospital. It was after nine days, when he hadn't returned home, that his wife contacted the police.

Mrs Lee said, “It was an appalling bureaucratic nightmare and a very harrowing experience. If you’re going to have a stroke don’t do it in France. The French authorities didn’t take any steps to find out who he was. The hospital’s attitude was simply ‘We are here to care for sick people not find their families’.”

But the French don't want you to think that their hard hearts are limited to callous disregard. No, they want to take a more active role in promoting misery. After the family rushed to his bedside, during the four remaining days he had to live, they were only allow to spend one hour per day with him. So out of a total of his last thirteen days, they were allowed to be with him four hours.

Oh, but there's more... While Mr Lee lay dying in his coma, the hospital, which had somehow come into possession of his car, would not allow his wife of 28 years to have his car keys. They required Mr Lee's written consent. The written consent of a man in a coma.

Posted by david at August 16, 2003 09:22 PM | TrackBack