The Corner

Re: Why I Left England

Derb, last weekend we had to dinner a

friend we last saw five years ago in Oxford, where he was earning his

doctoral degree. He’s back in Dallas now, and we asked him if he missed

Oxford. Absolutely, he said. Would you want to live in England? we asked.

“Not on your life!” he shot back. He explained himself in detail, but one

thing that stuck with me was his description of the hospitals. He said that

even the better ones were atrocious by American standards, and told a

bleakly funny story about a grad student friend who had a bike wreck, and

was sent home by the university hospital — not the infirmary, the hospital

– with his arm in a sling fashioned out of a dinner napkin. “I’m not

kidding,” our friend said, “it really was a dinner napkin! That’s England

for you. Every time I hear some American politician talking about

nationalizing health care, I think of that dinner napkin, because that’s

what we would have here.”

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