Friday, June 05, 2009

A different kind of medical system

One of our editors has been having troubling heart palpitations. A local doctor he trusts had him wear a monitor for a few days and the results did not calm his worries. She suggested that a visit to a cardiologist might be a good idea.

Let me take care of it, his landlord told him upon hearing of his problem. He said he was friendly with the best cardiologist in Sarajevo, and she had recently taken care of his own father's heart ailments. Leave it to me, he said.

The next morning the landlord called our editor and said meet me outside at 10; you got an appointment. And indeed the cardiologist saw him, did an EKG, delivered the diagnosis (good news, nothing but stress and age, relax) and collected her fee (100 km or about $80. In cash) all in about two hours.

Back in the states he'd still be calling around for a doctor who accepted his insurance and was also taking new patients. So you gotta admire the efficiency.

Or do you? This is a system where connections and cash get you what you need. That's handy. Unless you don't have the connections or cash. Then what?

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