Letter: Been there; don’t scoff at the British medical system
By: Sue Bridwell Beckham, River Falls, River Falls Journal
My friend’s aging British mother with a few health problems cannot visit here to see her naturalized American daughter. She cannot get the insurance required to be admitted.
My husband Dick also has a few health problems, among them a congenital heart arrhythmia. He must take blood thinners, visits England regularly. Dick’s on Medicare, which does not insure beyond U.S. borders.
On Oct. 1 Dick fell in a small English town. Because of his blood thinner, his cuts and abrasions bled profusely. Bystanders called the English 911. Within 10 minutes, a small ambulance arrived.
The nurse EMT did first aid and took us to our lodging. There, in the lounge of the bed-and-breakfast, he dressed the wounds and instructed us to go to the local hospital next morning.
When I asked about a fee, he replied, “It’s all free here.”
Friday, we went to the Minor Injury Unit, where we met Shirley, the nurse who would minister to Dick.
When she removed the bandage from one small puncture wound on Dick’s hand, it was still bleeding. For the rest of the day, she and the doctor on duty were stymied.
Finally, Dick was sent to the emergency room in a nearby city. There Dick received continuous, efficient attention in a clean, responsive atmosphere. His bleeding stopped about 2 a.m.
Next morning, Nurse Shirley spent a half hour removing the seaweed coagulant and redressing the wound. We were advised to get the dosage for Dick’s meds checked next week. For that, we paid 18 pounds (about $27).
That was it. All the rest was the right of any British citizen and any visitor to the United Kingdom.
My friend’s mother still cannot visit the U.S. Our country could learn much from other health-care systems. American ingenuity would make ours even better.