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Correct spelling can be a matter of life and death
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Feb 2, 2016

...as in this very sad story.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/02/irmgard-cooper-bleeds-to-death-surgery-spelling-error-delays-blood-supply


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Spelling Feb 2, 2016

You can read stories like that from British hospitals almost every day, and much more than just spelling errors is behind it.

I absolutely adored living in Warwick back in 1998, but it seems British hospitals are increasingly dangerous. Heart attack patients have to wait hours for ambulances, patients die of dehydration …

I broke my arm last week after falling on ice at home; I had an ambulance in ten minutes, was immediately operated and woke up in a very modern hospital after a first-class operation (confirmed by my sister in law, a retired chief surgeon). This is in a former GDR province. I was typing a translation the day after the accident.

It wasn't a state-run hospital but a private hospital providing dual public and private services. I wonder if the British NHS model (which is very similar to the Danish model) is the way ahead.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Well.... Feb 2, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

You can read stories like that from British hospitals almost every day, and much more than just spelling errors is behind it.

I absolutely adored living in Warwick back in 1998, but it seems British hospitals are increasingly dangerous. Heart attack patients have to wait hours for ambulances, patients die of dehydration …

I broke my arm last week after falling on ice at home; I had an ambulance in ten minutes, was immediately operated and woke up in a very modern hospital after a first-class operation (confirmed by my sister in law, a retired chief surgeon). This is in a former GDR province. I was typing a translation the day after the accident.

It wasn't a state-run hospital but a private hospital providing dual public and private services. I wonder if the British NHS model (which is very similar to the Danish model) is the way ahead.


Well, we know that anything done by Germans is always done more efficiently than it would be by anyone else.

I reported one particular story which I thought might be a reminder to translators that in some situations, correct English and spelling can have tragic consequences.

I wouldn't think it's wise to extrapolate from this a whole set of wide-ranging, all-encompassing, and completely wrong prejudices about how bad you think the UK healthcare system is.

[Edited at 2016-02-02 17:01 GMT]


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
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Absolutely not Feb 2, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

Well, we know that anything done by Germans is always done more efficiently than it would be by anyone else.

I reported one particular story. From this you have extrapolated a profoundly rooted set of wide-ranging all-encompassing convictions about the UK healthcare system which, by the way, are completely misplaced and seem to be based on anecdotes from sensationalist news sources. I wonder if that is wise?


No, I based it on what I regularly read in British broadsheet press articles about such events, no more sensationalist than what you yourself reported.

I mean, thirsty patient keeps asking for water, staff refuse to give him water because they consider him difficult, patient dies of dehydration. What sort of attitude is that in a hospital?

Also in your example, it's a problem of attitude and poor organisation. Instead of figuring out whom the blood was intended for when a single letter was wrong, they behaved as jobsworths and just ignored the patient.

Sure, it would be only a small percentage of all patients who encounter such problems, it's just that it's only in the UK I see those repeated horror stories.

Berlin Brandenburg is a good counterexample to the claim that Germans are always efficient, by the way. That new airport is complete chaos and has had to remain closed while massive construction mistakes are fixed.

[Edited at 2016-02-02 17:16 GMT]


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 06:43
Romanian to English
+ ...
as I interpret it Feb 2, 2016

the misspelling of her name was secondary to the fact that she entered the OR without blood supply ready available.

As an interpreter, I work with surgeons in the OR in cases where the patient is anesthetized only locally and as far as I remember, there always was blood available for that particular patient.

Also, the article mentions of a "bulge" - as far as I know (by being a Certified Ultrasound Technician) they must refer to an "aneurysm" , a dangerous condition that may require blood transfusion at any time.

My 2 cents,
Lee

[Edited at 2016-02-02 17:23 GMT]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:43
Member
English to French
However... Feb 2, 2016

Tom in London wrote:
...I wouldn't think it's wise to extrapolate from this a whole set of wide-ranging, all-encompassing, and completely wrong prejudices about how bad you think the UK healthcare system is...

The only time I ever went to a British public hospital was about 20 years ago, at the emergency unit because I thought I was too young to die. I was diagnosed a collapsed lung.
After being swiftly put on oxygen, a doctor pumped out about half a liter of air between my lung and rib cage through a looong needle. Every time I watch Pulp fiction, the overdose event with Uma Thurman reminds me of it, even though the doctor was far less frazzled than Travolta.
Then I was taken to a ward.
Later, a doctor and an intern got prepared to insert a long silicone-type canula in my chest through a key hole below the armpit (local anesthaesia) to get the air out of the rib cage on a continuous basis, the time for my lung to repair itself and reoccupy the whole space in my rib cage. If that didn't work, I was good for the OR.
Out of curiosity, I inspected the packaged bit that was supposed to enter my chest and stay there for a few days. The expiry date on the wrapping was two years passed. I asked the doctors there if I could have a non-expired item, and they diligently found one whose expiry date was still valid.

I was working in the UK and contributing fully to the NHS, after all. The procedure was a success.

I also had one tooth denerved and sealed by a dentist in the UK. Can't remember if it was part of the NHS or not. Anyway, 2 years later, after relocating in Morocco, I endured a painful infection from that very tooth in the middle of nowhere. I got it fixed by antibiotics and a dentist in Casablanca.
Fifteen years later, my fake tooth still holds perfectly.

But overall those two years in London were smashing.

Philippe


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Here's why Feb 3, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

.... it's only in the UK I see those repeated horror stories.



That's because here in the UK the press is controlled by Russian oligarchs and Australian millionaires who have a vested interest in always reporting bad news about the National Health Service because they want to talk it down all the time, hoping to favour the private providers who want to take it over. If you had lived a little longer in the UK and talked to more British people, you would know this.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
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French to Danish
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Hmm Feb 3, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

That's because here in the UK the press is controlled by Russian oligarchs and Australian millionaires who have a vested interest in always reporting bad news about the National Health Service because they want to talk it down all the time, hoping to favour the private providers who want to take it over. If you had lived a little longer in the UK and talked to more British people, you would know this.


It's not exactly what any of the Brits I've lived near, worked with or otherwise dealt with through many years in and outside of the UK, were chatting about, and I'm not convinced that they would have even if I'd stayed longer.

The UK ranks 18 in the World Health Organization’s Ranking of the World’s Health Systems, which is, admittedly, not a bad ranking, and Germany is 25th.

British press definitely gives a different impression, but it's true one cannot make statistics from the press. I knew I wasn't impressed with the Danish health system, and I'm not surprised to find it only as 34th.

Let's leave it there. It apparently isn't as bad as my impression was. My bad, to go overseas.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
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The other kind of Brits Feb 3, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

It's not exactly what any of the Brits I've lived near, worked with or otherwise dealt with


No, I imagine it isn't.


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Texte Style
Local time: 12:43
French to English
no cred Feb 3, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

The UK ranks 18 in the World Health Organization’s Ranking of the World’s Health Systems, which is, admittedly, not a bad ranking, and Germany is 25th.



I see that it's the ranking for this year, and that France is first, so I'm wondering what can possibly be taken into account to compile this list.
- Certainly not speed in face of an emergency, you could die waiting for treatment at my local hospital. I had to wait 16 hours to see the right doctor when I had a bad fall last year. I was not allowed any food or drink, not even water, during that time, in case an operation was necessary.
- Certainly not quality of care, because I have been left nearly naked out in a chilly corridor without any blankets, been made fun of, and have had pills forced down my throat in French hospitals, operated on despite my screaming that the anaesthetic was clearly not working, once I was sent home after a biking accident, after being told nothing was wrong with me, only to be called back the next day once a *competent* doctor had noticed dangerous spots on my brain scan (the one on duty when I was there was calling his GF every five minutes to get election updates)
- Certainly not access to healthcare, because there are no such things as walk-in clinics, the average wait for an appointment with a gynaecologist is three months if you are new to the area (Paris), and I'm only talking about the ones who will actually consider taking on a new patient, and it's much worse in the provinces, except the Côte d'Azur, where the number of doctors is well above the national average (apparently the one statistic that's constant across the country is the number of doctors per golf club)

I could go on, but just thinking about it is making me feel rather sick.

In other "less developed" countries like India, Thailand, Egypt and Iran just off the top of my head (I basically get sick whenever I travel outside Europe) I have been given instant, effective treatment, by caring, respectful medical staff, and wonder why I live in France and muse upon the fact that I need to move away before I get any older...

The press often has a bang about the healthcare system, but the most common story is the fact that spending exceeds budget, my personal feeling is that this is a feeble attempt to guilt people into not making appointments needlessly.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
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France Feb 3, 2016

Horrible experiences in France. I fortunately escaped 15 years in France without experiences like yours, but August is best avoided for medical treatment because most of the best medical staff would be on holiday.

Texte Style wrote:

In other "less developed" countries like India, Thailand, Egypt and Iran just off the top of my head (I basically get sick whenever I travel outside Europe) I have been given instant, effective treatment, by caring, respectful medical staff, and wonder why I live in France and muse upon the fact that I need to move away before I get any older...



Countries like that often have public hospitals of moderate standard for most of their own populations and private hospitals of a much higher standard for the wealthiest people and foreigners with private insurance, travel insurance included. Thailand has, in any case. When you rate them, you need to take all of it into account, not just the best hospitals for the few.

Also in France, you can opt in to secteur 2 and get better care for more money, depending on what is available locally, of course.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:43
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
the NHS Feb 3, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

in some situations, correct English and spelling can have tragic consequences.


Makes me think of the Two Ronnies for some reason

Anyway, let's thanks our stars there are hospitals with doctors and nurses who are willing to try and save our lives, even if (being human) they can sometimes make mistakes.

In the past I've been very critical of the National Health Service in both Britain and Italy, which imo are some of the best in the world, and free. You do have to make yourself noticed, refuse to have anything done to you that you don't really want done, or insist in the opposite case.

Imo you really should fight to survive in a hospital as you do in life. Just because you're in bed and there's lots of snooty folk in white coats around doesn't mean you shouldn't take an interest in your own well being and help yourself. If you are, or are going to be, unconscious it's vital to have a family member or friend you can trust on hand too. My ex wife had a doc up against the wall shouting "save his f##kin life" at one point. They did too.

Both Italian and the British hospitals saved my life but I'd have been just another statistic if I hadn't crawled into hospital myself after a GP diagnosed appendicitis as stomach cramps, or another time started shouting "Get me a doctor. I don't wanna die here!" at the top of my voice at 3.00 in the morning when the only nurse on duty offered me an aspirin for an internal hemorrhage.


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Iris Schmerda  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:43
Member (2016)
French to German
+ ...
France is first! Feb 3, 2016

I absolutely can't understand why France is on the first place, the system is totally crazy!

I get on quite well, because I am living in the Parisian region, but would have enough hilarious stories to fill a book. I wonder how people in rural areas get on with this.

The worst thing is dental treatment: A few years ago with some problems I had to try out about six or seven different dentists in a few months, a very painful experience. Young doctors without any experience, dirty office, incompetent butcher ...
Finally I found one who is very good -- in a pricey area just next to the Champs Elysées ... !

He and some collegues he refered me to (all in the same area) repaired several problems, which took a long time, but now everything is perfect. Better pay a lot of money than being unable to work for months.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
The green green grass... Feb 3, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

It's not exactly what any of the Brits I've lived near, worked with or otherwise dealt with


No, I imagine it isn't.


UK expats are notorious for whingeing about the country they left behind, as well as moaning about how their adopted country of residence could be better if only they'd do things they way we did back home... I've been guilty of it myself, especially when trying to buy, sell, scrap or "homologate" motor vehicles in Spain; the bureaucracy is mind-boggling


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Surveys and rankings Feb 3, 2016

Iris Schmerda wrote:

I absolutely can't understand why France is on the first place, the system is totally crazy!



I often wonder why Denmark comes out so near the top in surveys and ratings about happiness and economic freedom when I know it holds the world record in tax, often practices oppressive methods when it comes to tax, and that its citizens can have rather restrictive views on how others should live, even other Danes.

I'm indeed very happy not to live in Denmark.

I must conclude that I don't weigh the criteria the same way as the authors of such surveys and rankings do, surveys and rankings which must always be taken with a huge grain of salt, if not a lorryload of salt.

When I needed physiotherapy in the UK, it was really excellent (private clinic, but still), whereas I never managed to find one good clinic in France, where they call it kinésithérapie, but they barely touch the muscles, so it was mostly a waste of time.

They can have several months' waiting time for ophthalmologists because not enough are educated, and their resources are wasted for trivial prescriptions where no illness is involved, whereas opticians are perfectly able to deal with normal renewals and ordinary changes of sight.


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