Friday again and I am spoiled for choice – above is a photo of a fountain taken at San Rafaele hospital in Milan. After an exchange with Jude on the meaning of the fountain I went back and enlarged the photo to read the text, which reads: San Raffaele tempio della medicina et della sofferenza or translated:
San Raffaele: Temple of Medicine and suffering Not necessarily a modern marketing statement...Even if it is honest. Nowadays if the patient is not in the statement, there is something wrong. And suffering doesn't figure anywhere (seen any advertisements lately?)
Google leads me to this website on Catholic Saints with the following text on St Raphael: “St. Raphael is the patron saint of travellers, the blind, bodily ills, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and medical workers. He is often pictured holding a staff and either holding or standing on a fish”
More on fountains below the text at the bottom, more on San Rafaele hospital and the Italian health-care system below.
I recently spent a day here with Nonna. It was a lesson in patience and patients! Even now, months later, the serenity with which Italians accept the workings of their health care system still does not cease to amaze me. Time from initial visit to communication of diagnosis is 3 months, you get your diagnosis about 1 month after being operated on. Before then, not a whisper of a differential diagnosis list is discussed with you. By far the biggest difference to the Swiss healthcare system, this approach. It’s not of course that the doctors don’t know within 1 week or 2 of the first biopsy, what your situation is, but until the patient is informed of what is happening, that takes ages. As a doctor and a relative I kept trying to speed this along, until I realised, that the patient herself and everyone else was totally happy with the patriarchal approach. It’s what you know I guess.
San Rafaele hospital is huge, 1350 beds, an enormous campus, super well organised. When you leave the underground parking lot you reach a corridor with this information panel, English and Italian, and coloured stripes on the floor lead you where you need to go, very impressive indeed. Because it is so big and busy, it’s a lot like being at an airport very loud and quite disorienting. And I’m healthy, I shudder to think how the place makes you feel when you are sick.
Although Hospidale San Rafaele is up in Milan, many patients travel from the South of Italy to be treated here. The Italian healthcare system was rated as being #2 in the world by the WHO, in 2000, after France. Things have likely changed since then. But I am quoting that number just to show you it is good.
There are some great aspects to the Italian health-system. Apart from a minimal copay everything is covered by the state. That means, you don’t need to sell your house if you are diagnosed with a terrifyingly expensive illness. Furthermore, the system offers flexibility. E.g. if you live in the South but want to be operated in a hospital in Milan, you can chose to do this. The region you come from will foot the bill and reimburse the hospitals in Milan. They don’t force you to be operated down South…And, while you are allocated your treating physician locally by your postcode, you can change him or her if you don’t get on.
Also if you don’t trust the system, you can elect to get to have additional opinions privately for a relatively humane amount (150 Euros), that said the average salary in Italy is not high.
Some aspects that were different were, that the patient is a relatively passive part of the process. You go through the system, you get treated, but you don’t really get told what is going on and nobody discusses treatment options with you in any depth. This translates to ” we will operate on you and then tell you what treatment you will be getting” . That said, although you don’t get informed about what is happening, the system works very fast. From first biopsy to operation a mere 6 weeks or so, which is pretty amazing. An another interesting discovery is that you may have an appointment, you sit and wait outside the doctor’s room for ages, and when it is your turn the other patient comes out, and the doctor shouts your name from behind the door. The doctor doesn’t come to the door and ask the next patient in.
Obviously a country where a doctor still has a very high status (they also still get presents at Xmas and Easter etc. I am assured (even if they misdiagnose you..)).
No litigation here, it appears. Which overall is a good thing, I think.
Jude shares another classic, Swiss trough fountain with an Easter bonnet of begonias she discovered in Montreux (lovely place Montreux, try to get there for the Jazz festival). And the week before it was a fountain with flowers from Geneva, very picturesque. Another day in paradise shares the fountain of Cybele from Madrid.
TGeriatrix recently shared the fountain of a bishop in a park, from Italy, and this week shares an impressive fountain crowned by a statue of the God Mercury – very impressive, again. The Dutch appear to approach fountains much like the Germans and the Swiss, you need to know what you are looking at. The Italians make it easy for you and add flight: Mercury is flying in Rome, and I would guess a copy of that fountain in Oxford,England. My favourite from the past 2 weeks is Aletta’s the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe fountain ( I make it up as I go along, but it gives me joy..). Chava shares a fountain from NYC, very odd one this, looks like one of those helium party balloons where the shape of a dog was just too difficult for the magician and a beauty from Ecuador. KAZ shares a fountain from Sydney from Hyde Park, Sydney.
I shall post a fountain each Friday within a particular theme which will change each month. You are invited to join in by posting one or more of your own fountains within the month that fit into the theme and either add a link (ping-back) in your post to mine or link to it in a comment on my post.
To make it easier to find everyone’s posts, perhaps you could add the Tag ‘Fountain Series‘.
You don’t have to post on a Friday. Any day in the month will do. If you have loads of pictures that fit into a theme, feel free to post several times during the month or create a gallery or whatever works best for you. While I’ve never run a challenge, I am following Jude’s capable lead and letting myself be inspired by her categories, so I am feeling hopeful that this will work out.
Theme for July is: Stone fountains