Italy House


~ Living in Italy ~



Hospital Outpatients

Would you be a casualty of the Italian hospital service?

A personal visit to the outpatients department in Foligno hospital

Since moving to Italy, I have had occasion to visit our local hospital on no less than four occasions (twice to the outpatients department); they have all been memorable in their own way.

When I arrived in Italy, I brought with me a classic case of lymphedema - something which my doctor in Britain had chosen to ignore thus allowing it to get so well-established that it is now completely untreatable. That said, the effects of the illness can be alleviated (or exacerbated) and it was due to some of the less pleasant effects of my ailment that lead me to the outpatients department of our local hospital the first time.

At the time of visiting outpatients, both of my legs had ulcerated - which means that they had burst open and a constant stream of acidic fluid was issuing forth burning the other tissue and causing further ulceration as it ran down my legs. On top of that, it was the fly season and both legs had become infected. It had got so bad that if I didn't soon do something about it there was a very real possibility that I might lose one or even both legs to gangrene. We went into the Casualty Department of the new hospital in Foligno one afternoon late in summer 2005, checked in as outpatients and took our seats for the obligatory wait.

Finally I was called but, instead of receiving any treatment for my legs (which were so painful that it had taken me quite a considerable time to hobble on down the corridor to the outpatients treatment room), I was questioned about my weight and whether I had 'always been heavy'. More doctors appeared from nowhere and very soon the room was crowded with myself, my wife and about 10 of them. Not one was interested in helping me - most stood around laughing and pointing like I was some travelling freak show. Despite having legs which literally stank of decaying flesh, I was dismissed with a lot of grins and sniggers and without ever having had any treatment - not even a saline clean up of my ulcers.

I stormed out of the hospital only to be met by a gaggle of the aforementioned doctors hanging around the car park seemingly enjoying a 'post-coital' cigarette (NB despite their knowledge of the damage it causes, most doctors here smoke like chimneys).

Fortunately for my plight, my wife managed to flag down a 'home-visit' nurse but that is another tale and not to be mixed with this one about Outpatients.

Hospital Outpatients

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