VDH’s 7 reasons for optimism

Earlier this week Victor Davis Hanson proclaimed ten random politically incorrect thoughts. Hugh Hewitt suggested that Professor Hanson follow up with the best things he sees around him. Yesterday Professor Hanson obliged, offering seven random politicallly incorrect reasons to be optimistic on Thanksgiving Day.

Here is part of his column devoted to health care, though it applies equally as a ground to be pessimistic about the effects of prospective reforms:

Most who denigrate American medicine know nothing of the alternative. I have had the dubious distinction of having become ill in a lot of awful places during the last 35 years. I once spent 30 days in Greek hospitals first with E. coli food poisoning, and then with kidney problems that led to a partially-severed ureter and an impacted stone (that finally required 11th hour emergency surgery back in the US). The treatment in Athens was barbaric to say the least. One bought everything with cash, from toothpaste to food. The carelessness was astounding (from missing medications to unattended IVs to almost deliberate lack of simple antiseptic procedures.) Care was predicated entirely on money; suites on top, the inferno on the bottom–under a utopian socialist system. I once got what I was told by a local Egyptian doctor was merely a “light case” of malaria in southern Egypt while visiting the Valley of the Kings in 1974, and spent 7 days with a high fever in a dismal infirmary in Luxor. One was on their own there–not figuratively, but factually. I found hygiene nonexistant (cf. the old reusable steel needles). No need to go on about an emergency operation two years ago for a perforated appendix and peritonitis in Gaddafi’s utopian socialist and oil-rich Tripolis (mandatory AIDs test for all who enter the clinic; those with positive results are denied surgery and supposedly headed for quarantine–and so also apparently Paradise).

Our health care is flawed, but each day, by hook or crook, even if it be by emergency room, we try to treat the uninsured. (I confirm that by breaking an arm a few years ago, and spending a morning in the Selma emergency room, the only English speaker during some three hours among dozens of other patients, and the only one with private health insurance and the last to see a (skilled and compassionate) doctor; all there received humane, free care, interpreters, and left satisfied, and aware that there was nothing comparable in Oaxaca).

Professor Hanson concludes:

Once again, I note from mail and the postings that critics on the hard Left continue to lack humor; when they should be ecstatic with the triumph of Obama and the new majority in the Congress, they seem instead curiously consumed by their petty anger and bitterness. And now even the ritual totem George Bush is gone at which to chant and revile. No matter; this is a wonderful country and we are so lucky to be alive in the here and now in the United States. So lighten up this Thanksgiving-Carpe diem!

Translation: Seize the day!

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