“Sicko” — Did Michael Moore Get It Right?
From the loudspeaker came a male voice speaking German. “I need to see a doctor,” Joyce said.
“OK,” was the response. Moments later, a young technician in scrubs—probably in his early 30s—opened the door, held it as we entered and led us to the clean, well-lit emergency room. It was large with a hospital bed in the middle, completely made up with white linens. “Bladder infection,” Joyce said. “Urinary infection.”
The guy nodded, asked for her passport and then produced a small plastic cup from a cupboard and pointed Joyce to the bathroom. Peggy and I retired to the waiting room where one of the publications on the coffee table was a medical journal (in German, of course) with a long feature story on aortic stents.
Joyce appeared five minutes later with two small boxes of pills—painkillers and enough sulfonamides to cure the condition. She thanked the technician, who handed back her passport and showed us to the door. We were on our way back to the hotel.
We were in the hospital for a total of 15 minutes.
Walking home, Joyce told us that the technician tested her urine sample and then took her in to see a doctor, who was out of central casting—tall, elegant with gray hair—and spoke perfect English. He noted the test results and asked her if she had ever had this before. She said yes. He asked if she were in pain. She said no, just discomfort. As he handed her the pills, he told her that the entire cost would be 15 euros (roughly US$21). Did she want to fill out forms or would she prefer to pay cash? She paid cash.
Back at the Kurcafe Hotel we saw Joyce to her room, wished her well and went off to bed.