Sunday, August 09, 2009

Going To The Dogs

In yesterday's WSJ, Theodore Dalrymple opined that when it comes to health care in the U.K. dogs have better options than people:

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain, and on the whole it is better to be a dog.

As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs--or hamsters--come first.

he conditions in which you receive your treatment are much more pleasant than British humans have to endure. For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist; above all, the atmosphere is different. There is no tension, no feeling that one more patient will bring the whole system to the point of collapse, and all the staff go off with nervous breakdowns. In the waiting rooms, a perfect calm reigns; the patients’ relatives are not on the verge of hysteria, and do not suspect that the system is cheating their loved one, for economic reasons, of the treatment which he needs. The relatives are united by their concern for the welfare of each other’s loved one. They are not terrified that someone is getting more out of the system than they.

Which make one wonder if some enterprising Brits elect to follow the course of Kramer in the Seinfeld episode The Andrea Doria:

(While Kramer's walking with his new found dog, Smuckers, he meets up with George. Kramer and the dog both start coughing)

KRAMER: (Between coughs) Hey.

GEORGE: What's with the dog?

KRAMER: (Petting Smuckers) Yeah, this is Smuckers. I borrowed him. (Starts coughing)


(Smuckers coughs)

KRAMER: (Pointing at the dog) Yeah, we share the same affliction, so I'm gonna have a vet check us out.

GEORGE: A vet?

KRAMER: Oh, I'll take a vet over an M.D. any day. They gotta be able to cure a (Snaps his fingers in rhythm with his words) lizard, a chicken, a pig, a frog (Stops snapping)--all on the same day.

GEORGE: So, if I may jump ahead--you're gonna take dog medicine?

KRAMER: (Smiling) You bet we are! Huh, Smuckers? (Smuckers coughs. They turn to leave) I'll see ya.

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