The other thing: that the best-intentioned doctors often don’t know what they are talking about outside their own specialty. My two thoracic surgeons overruled my two general internalists, and proved to be 100 percent correct. On the other hand, those two generalists did save my life, so I am grateful to them, too.
The great weakness of Israel’s system — and it has many strengths far beyond the British and the American — is going from the level of general practitioner to specialist. When first scheduling my lung doctor appointment, there was a one-month wait. That might have killed me. I went to my wife’s doctor and he had me in the emergency room within three hours, getting proper treatment. The female doctor from the health fund was wonderful in getting me fast appointments, too.
So, I am not joking: your life may depend on getting rid of Obamacare.
The Israeli system has reasonable prices, but, of course, its small size allows easy management and reduced abuse. Yes, there are incompetents, indifferent personnel, and worse hospitals, too, but Ichilov — despite the often callous night floor staff — is the only hospital I’d want to be in. And many of the most talented of these doctors and others left the USSR because they just weren’t welcome there.
It’s also only the hospital where they start asking you about contemporary Middle East developments while treating you. I have great genealogy discussions with some medical personnel about our ancestors. And for the multiculturalism fans, at least three of the kindest technicians were Arabs — two men with crosses and a woman with a hijab, perhaps more whom I don’t know.