THE BLOG
06/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

My Bout with Socialist Medicine, British Style

In a recent trip to England, I was struck by a severe case of sciatica. With excruciating pain that left me with no position to sleep for more than a few minutes without waking in agony, I was forced to face the nightmare of the National Health System.

Armed with detailed forewarnings supplied by Sarah Palin, Fox News and the Tea Partiers, I girded my loins, enlisted the aid of my girlfriend Carol (who was willing to risk becoming entangled in the spiders web of socialism by accompanying me into the belly of the lion), and ventured into the labyrinthine bureaucracy of state controlled health care.

With typical bureaucratic entrapment, the NHS does not supply you with the name of a designated doctor, leaving you to select one on your own. I chose my brother's doctor in the full expectation of being refused and shunted ever onward in a form of infinite regress that would extend past my stay in England. I was pretty fearful when the phone was not answered until the third ring, and all my fears were confirmed when the person at the other end said, "I will check to see if we have an opening." After an excruciating 30 seconds, she returned and said the predictable: "I am sorry... you will have to wait for an appointment... until five PM." She was profusely apologetic and well she should have been. Here in the USA I would certainly already have been at my local emergency room, receiving the best medical care in the world.

But the atrocities did not end there. They had told me to arrive early, to fill out the required "forms." Sure enough, I faced further evidence of the inadequacy of socialized medicine. The form they required asked for my New York and London addresses. Imagine my outrage. Any self-respecting American doctor would have vast paper work designed to create a whole (new) medical history as well as proof of financial capability. Clearly the NHS cares nothing about medical accuracy, or about deadbeat illegal immigrants chiseling medical care.

But the big problem arose when she saw I was from the United States and declared, "I am sorry... Great Britain does not have a reciprocal medical care treaty with the United States." (This is a result of the US protecting it citizens from a flood of desperate Brits arriving en mass to access our superior medical system, overburdening our doctors and hospitals and degrading our superior health care.) When I said, "Well, can I pay for the medical care myself," she replied, "That won't be necessary... we will see you on an emergency basis." And sent me in.

This again demonstrates the terminal degradation of the British system, a system overwhelmed by the flood of illegal immigrants declaring themselves emergency patients to put the system under unbearable pressure that deprives the middle class of any chance of decent care. (As proof of this, remember the the failure to answer the phone on the first ring, and the difficult wait while she checked to see if they had an "opening," and the subsequent unendurable five hour delay between my initial call and actually seeing the doctor.

My outrage was amplified when I discovered that the doctor was going to rely on my own reports about my medical condition, and that she was not even concerned that I had not recorded my complete medical history. What kind of medicine is this when you trust the patient?

After she decided on my treatment--start with a non-prescription pain killer and then proceed to a prescription drug if needed--I faced the next, perhaps insurmountable, hurdle--finding an open pharmacy in a country where most drug stores close at 5:00. The doctor couldn't help me, but she suggested that I consult with the same administrator who had handled my intake in full bureaucratic mode. When I approached the administrator for advice, she did something really strange and--I am sure--against all rules of appropriate medical behavior. She inquired into my private life, asking me "where are you going after here?"

With big brother surely watching, I revealed confidential details about my personal life: that I was due at a play in 90 minutes at the Victoria Palace in downtown London. She then used her government phone to find a pharmacy near the theatre. Is this appropriate behavior for a medical professional? First prying into my personal life, and then using government equipment to make personal phone calls for a patient? I don't think so... no wonder they give such lousy care to their citizens.

Upon arriving at the pharmacy, I faced the prospect of dealing with yet another bureaucracy, and, sure enough, the pharmacist disappeared with the prescription. I found my non-prescription drugs and discovered they would cost me 45p, a clear proof that these drugs were the same kind of ineffective medication that the Canadians have been pawning off on innocent US citizens for the last few years. But what choice did I have? There were no 10 pound versions of the drug available. In fact, the most expensive version was only 85p. So I bought this fake drug, hoping that at least the prescription drug would work.

With little hope for the efficacy of the non-prescription drug, I went to the cash register only to discover that the prescription version was already there--once again confirming that they were using "ready to go" prescriptions of dubious quality. And imagine my consternation when I discovered that the prescription was free. At that price, we can be sure that it was ineffective--probably one of those generic drugs made illegally outside the patent law that protects upstanding drug companies from cheap and ineffective imitations.

Fortunately, I never had to risk my health taking the prescription drug. The pain dissipated soon after I tried the non-prescription 45p medication. Clearly, the sciatica was about to disappear on its own.

I am taking my story to Fox News. They will certainly want to publicize the atrocious treatment I received at the hand of the British socialist medical system.