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08.21.2006

The Benefits of Socialized Medicine

I really enjoyed the time I spent in England as an exchange student during college. I fit pretty well into the culture there despite my extreme aversion to Black and Tans and the occasional pair of white socks which marked me as a clear Yank. I have fond memories of lots of things, including my only run-in with the British medical system, which made treatment for a set of infected, recently removed wisdom teeth both literally and figuratively painless. Not to mention, completely free.

While I know all sorts of problems exist with the current system, including many people having to wait ages for treatments that come sometimes too little too late, it's a pretty great thing that everyone gets healthcare.

And now, even if they are sitting around in a hospital room, waiting for a treatment, at least they can do it with a nice glass of wine. No, hospitals aren't instituting a corkage policy. They're actually stocking wine.

I tell you. America really has some things to learn from the British. First, they start letting retirees invest their pensions in wine, and now they're letting you sip fine Bordeaux while you're in traction with a colostomy bag.

This recent turn of events was announced today as a partnership between the King Edward VII Hospital and UK wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd.

You've heard of medical vacations? Some people are going to Thailand for plastic surgery. I'm going to England for any hospital stay longer than 24 hours. Recovery is so much faster with a bottle of bubbly in an ice bucket next to your IV.

Comments (12)

Ryan Opaz wrote:
08.22.06 at 8:31 AM

I definatly am on board for that. Being here in Spain I wonder if I could get the clinics to serve some Sherry or Cava! Maybe then I would take care of myself by visiting the doctor more often. At least it would be incentive to get that checkup, I hate doctors so much, this might actually help to motivate me!

Ezra wrote:
08.22.06 at 8:44 AM

Great idea, yes. But honestly, how many patients will be able to drink alcohol with the meds they'll be taking? My guess is that patients will start getting a lot more visitors than they're used to...

Tery Spataro wrote:
08.27.06 at 1:26 PM

I echo your experience with England's medical system. I had an allergic reaction that almost killed me and was rushed to hospital where they saved me. On my way to the hospital I thought I couldn't afford this but much to my surprise there was no bill at the end of my visit. And my medication was given to me without a charge.

As far as wine in the hospital waiting room I have mixed feelings. I think it's great for relaxing while under stress but what happens when too much relaxing gets in the way of saving lives?

Carl W Schulze wrote:
08.27.06 at 5:14 PM

Reminds me of one of my late father's favorite stories about his arrival in the US as a callow immigrant from Germany. Not along after landing in '28 he found himself in need of some dental work and made the mistake of telling the hapless dentist that back in Germany the procedure would have cost nothing. Well, "hapless" changed quickly to "apoplectic," and my father almost got ejected from that chair! Germany, whatever benighted circumstances it blundered into later in the 20th century, was actually the European frontrunner in establishing social care, with the equivalent of Social Security coming into existence (under Bismarck!) in 1878 and the rudiments of a universal medical care system already in the late 1880's. The lesson I've always taken from that story is that the sooner a nation takes that bull by the horns, the better . . . When we, at long last, embrace socialized medicine, it's going to be PAINFUL!
Carl

Alder wrote:
08.27.06 at 7:00 PM

Terry,

As far as I'm concerned, the wine should mostly be for the folks visiting. Though if you're in recovery for something minor, I can't imagine that a little glass of bubbly would hurt.

PAM wrote:
08.28.06 at 5:28 AM

I am an immigrant from the U.K. & glad that the U.S. does not have socialized medicine such as Britain's N.H.S.+ i should point out that the King Edward VII Hospital mentioned is a very expensive private hospital & not part of the public health system.

Dave wrote:
02.19.07 at 12:07 PM

You socialized medicine supporters! Only the immigrant Brit knows what the deal is.

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