This weekend, Steve, the brother of an American friend, told me of a scary experience last year when he broke his neck in a cycling accident.

In a state of shock, and not realising the seriousness of his injury, he walked two miles to the nearest hospital.

What was scarier still was the fact that the medical team declared that  the emergency treatment he needed was dependent on him producing his health insurance documents. As he was in his cycle gear, and didn’t have his wallet, he was unable to prove that he was financially covered.

Fortunately, other members of the public were on hand to voice their outrage and insist that the doctors do their job. This they eventually, and reluctantly, agreed to do.

The story has a happy ending in that Steve could afford to pay the bills and has made a full recovery.

To Americans, this might not seem such a remarkable story but most Europeans would find it bizarre and shocking.

Presumably, in the States, there are many cases of people dying because they haven’t got, or can’t prove that they have, health insurance. To me this shows the true/ugly face of capitalism.

In any humane society, care in such a life or death situation, prompt medical care should be a basic human right and should never come down to a question of money.

Do you know of any similar horror stories?

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