International Hospital Medicine

Summer in London: First Impressions

First of all, let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Mom, I’m fine. Thanks for your concern. Really. I’ve now been in London for about 6 weeks on my sabbatical. The recent riots here are all folks are talking about and the trauma is real. One wonders whether the inevitability of budget cuts, high unemployment, increased polarization and pent-up anger—on both sides of The Pond—will mean that London-style violence will soon be coming to a theater near you. I hope not, but the events around England this week illustrate how fragile this thing called civilization is. Still, I’ve been safe, lucky to be insulated in my lovely, upscale neighborhood of South Kensington. Even when I’ve gone afield, things seem pretty normal—the Tube is bustling, hot and sweaty, Regent Street is abuzz with shoppers. It’s all a little surreal. In this dispatch, I’ll talk a bit about the modern…

Am I A Socialist?

Am I a socialist? I don’t think so, but I did inch in that direction during the four days I spent in northern Norway last week, visiting the local hospital in Bodø and speaking to about 20 of the nation’s hospital CEOs. Here’s what I learned. First, a word on visiting northern Norway – above the Arctic Circle – in summertime. I’d rank experiencing the midnight sun (your wristwatch says midnight, but the sky looks more like late afternoon) as among the most awe-inspiring things I’ve seen in my travels, up there with Xian’s terra cotta warriors, Scotland’s Isle of Skye, Masada at sunrise, and the 8th hole at Pebble Beach. And the people are a delight – unpretentious, outdoorsy types who were far less reserved than I’d been led to expect. It is well worth a visit. But the medical piece was what fascinated me – particularly as it…
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