“Sicko” — Did Michael Moore Get It Right?
Michael Moore made a splash with his documentary, “Sicko,” about the disarray of the American health care system.
Three weeks ago, an American woman executive in her early sixties—let’s call her Joyce—needed to see a doctor fairly late at night in the little town of Füssen, Germany. My wife, Peggy, and I went with her to the emergency room of the local hospital.
It turned out that earlier in the year, Joyce had the very same symptoms during a business trip to the Midwest and went to the emergency room of one of the biggest hospitals in Omaha.
The comparison of how Joyce was treated in these two health care facilities for exactly the same illness is eye-opening.
Kurcafe Hotel, Füssen, December 2, 2007
It was around 10:00 p.m. Peggy and I were just draining the last drink of the evening and about to head upstairs when our friend Joyce came down the stairs. Joyce had gone up to her room soon after dinner, presumably to get a good night’s sleep before the World Curling Federation meeting the next morning. Now she was fully dressed, wearing an overcoat and looking pained and confused.
Peggy sprang up and asked if everything was okay. It wasn’t. Joyce was in severe discomfort with symptoms of cystitis—the same bladder infection that struck her in Omaha seven months earlier. She wanted to see a doctor.
Peggy popped into the kitchen and found an assistant manager of the hotel, who spoke no English. Peggy said, “hospital,” and the woman came out to the front desk, opened a small map of the town and circled the hospital. “Walk, five minutes,” she said. “Drive, two minutes.”
We grabbed our coats and escorted Joyce along Sebastianstrasse. Being a Sunday night, the streets were dark and empty. We came upon a very big traffic sign entirely in German. A small Red Cross toward the bottom indicated we were headed in the right direction. Additional signs with red crosses led us to a very dark doorway with a small light over the bell, which Joyce pushed.