Required Reading

Check out this remarkable WSJ column by Fox News reporter David Asman, whose wife had a stroke shortly after they arrived in London for a vacation. Among other things, it’s an account of how health care works (and doesn’t work) when it’s “free” (and when it isn’t).

Asman’s story will also scare you to death imagining the same thing happening to one of your own loved ones, but read it anyway.


14 Responses to “Required Reading”

  1. The World According to Nick Says:

    What You Get For Free

    What follows is his account of the differences between public and private hospitals in Britain, compared to hospitals his wife then stayed at once they got back to the U.S. It’s a pretty even handed column, with criticisms and applause given to both …

  2. Amateur Megalomania Says:

    Compare and Contrast

    A glimpse into the British Health Care System Go check it out….

  3. Instapilot Says:

    The Netherlands are worse.

    Our daughter was born in Heerlen Hospital, a teaching hospital in the extreme southern tip of that country, similar to Johns Hopkins in status.

    My wife was 35 and had preeclampsia (I think I spelled that right…and it’s not good). The baby was in breech position throughout the pregnancy.

    Labor was induced at 10:00PM but the doctor didn’t show ’til 8:00 AM the next day (they don’t come in until their shifts start–labor laws, you know). Maximum blood pressure we saw on wifey throughout the night was 200/100.

    Fix? Turn off the monitor. (Really.)

    Agony…exacerbated by her education–she’s an Intensive Care Unit RN who knew exactly how incompetent, backward and downright primitive these morons were/are and could do nothing but watch herself be put in mortal danger. A 200/100 diastolic/systolic reading is a sure sign microstrokes will begin to occur in the brain.

    I already mentioned why the doctor didn’t come in until the morning, but the reason no pain medication was given wasn’t due to the fetus, though that may have harmed the child–it was because their medical community thinks experiencing birth pangs “increases the bonding of mother and child.”) (Really.)

    Approximately two nano-farts after examining the wife, doc says, “Well, looks like she needs a Cesarean.”

    I’m thinkn’, “Man’s a genius. Where the #@*! did I put my 9mm?”

    AFTER getting her in the OR, the hospital spends 20 minutes looking for the anesthesiologist (I probably misspelled that, too). He finally waltzes in (literally), spreads his arms wide and shouts, “I’m here!”


    Scariest moment? When that buffoon sticks my spouse with a needle to the lower spine for the saddle block…after all I’ve seen I’m expecting paralysis in the recovery room.

    Dodged that bullet, however.

    Of course, watching them open up her abdomen with a pair of scissors–sorry-forceps–had me wishing (again) that I had come armed. I was dangerous at that point, but unarmed. Damn.

    My daughter is 8; the wife still has numbness in that area.

    Now, the hospital WAS clean. It was just full of demons.

    Count your blessings, Americans…and don’t get hurt on your European vacation.

  4. Tim P Says:

    An excellent post. It’s refreshing to read somebody’s observations and not see the obvious political spin, one way or the other.
    And Instapilot’s comment was chilling.

  5. Tim Higgins Says:

    For those who’ve had the fortune to not experience socialized medicine firsthand, imagine health coverage only being available through one insurer (no competition), and said insurers is run by the folks at the DMV. That’s if you can’t stomach empathizing with what these guys have described (which I can’t – worse than my worst nightmare).

  6. The Kudzu Chronicle Says:

    Ground Zero Memorial will be used to disparage the US.

    It’s difficult to imagine anything more offensive than the planned World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex

  7. Redman Says:

    Instapilot….Hopefully you’ll feel better to know that I had major surgery at a very prestigious US hospital 14 years ago, and I’m still numb at the incision site. It’s not a sign that anyone did anything wrong.

  8. Instapilot Says:


    May I assume they used a scalpel vs. a pair of scissors?

  9. richard mcenroe Says:

    When ex-Singaoporean President Lee Kwan Yew’s wife had a suspected stroke in London recently, he took one look at the NH emergency facilities, pulled her out of the hospital and flew her back to Singapore before they even began treatment.

    Dude, when third world potentates going running back to their countries rather than let your horse leeches near their loved ones, your health system does not work…

  10. GZ Expat, Part II Says:

    What exactly is free???

    Tell an American anything is free…and the respond with, ‘nothing is free.’

  11. GZ Expat Says:

    Try Hong Kong! Although it isn’t ‘free’ healthcare…you have to pay very high prices for a system that was brought up under the British system.

    A broken arm yielded my tai-tai 3 nights in the hospital and a USD10,000.00 bill prior to getting her out. Thank gawd for Amex!

  12. Clive Davis Says:


    When his wife suffers a stroke, an American journalist visiting London spends a month getting a close-up view of the NHS. David Asman’s verdict, in the Wall St Journal (reg required)

  13. Steve S Says:

    I lived in Hungary for a year, and got pretty sick toward the end of my stay. Luckily, I didn’t get sick in the small city I actually lived in (where the people weren’t joking when they said to take the train an hour and 45 minutes down the line if you get sick, rather than go to our city’s hospital). But even in Budapest, things were pretty horrible. It happened that I had a connection who knew of a good doctor (after I’d seen2 bad ones). Even though I had an appointment with him, finding him was like playing “Where’s Waldo” – I waited 2 or 3 hours for him to finally show up. That’s to say nothing of the infrastructure. Thankfully all I needed was a bit of penicillin.

  14. Blithering Bunny Says:

    Pink bits 101

    Jonathan Aitken is on Sky telling us how much he’s changed. He still sounds self-obsessed to me. He mentioned that he was to give a talk at some prison tonight. But he said the talk is not for the people in the audience — the talk is really for an aud…

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