The very good and the very bad

Let’s get one thing straight: many things about living in Switzerland are great. I have lived here for 30 years, which I would never have done if I were not convinced that this country has got many things right.


I have visited, but never lived in, a Swiss German city. I have had several Swiss German friends, and know that there are significant differences between the SGs and the SRs (Suisse romands, i.e. Swiss people who live in the Swiss French part of the country and speak French, not Swiss German. Nor any other language, in most cases! On principle!) Also, remember that Switzerland only has one city with more than a million people in it – Zurich – which is SG.  So my point is that I don’t really know from my own experience how different my cardiac experience would have been if I lived in the SG part of the country, and will therefore resist tarring them with the same brush I use for the SRs.

After meeting Professor Sharma in London I am even more aware of the ridiculous pompousness of “top specialists” in this country! It has to be seen to be believed.

I have never done well with pompous people, but Swiss French surgeons are in a class of their own. They really do think they are as powerful and infallible as Louis XIV undoubtedly thought he was. When my health and well-being were not directly concerned, I could — and did — laugh out loud at their idiocy. But when that bunch of Ayatollahs had life-or-death power over me while I lay in hospital, hooked up to drips, monitors and other technology, but with no consideration for my humanity, I was afraid. Very, very afraid.

These nutters demand total obedience, unquestioning passivity, and (of course) worshipful admiration.

The minute you start asking questions, they get annoyed. At best, you get empty assurances that everything is fine, which is not the question you asked in the first place.

When you insist on answers, or object to your questions being dodged or ignored, you start to see their nasty, aggressive underside. At any sign of insubordination they attack you verbally. They insult you. They talk down to you as though you were a very naughty child.

This is the sign of a pathetically fragile little ego, combined with major delusions of grandeur.

They really believe that their years of medical study have absolved them of all need to remember that they are pissing, shitting, fallible human beings like all the rest of us.
Not gods.

Contrast this with Prof Sharma’s attitude and behaviour: friendly, welcoming, patient-centred. He asked questions, gave opinions, and when I realized I had mistranslated a term from the French, he gracefully accepted the new information and moved on. He DID NOT seize every opportunity to show that HE was the specialist while I was the stupid, ignorant peasant. He gave me information. He did not assume that I was too stupid or pathetic to hear the facts.

And throughout, he was kind and respectful. After my experiences with the Swiss system, I was euphoric. For the first time in 18 months I feel that I am a partner in my own healthcare – that no one is trying to railroad me into their own view of what we stupid, arsehole patients really need.

It’s that simple. Swiss medical bigshots should go away and start new religions. They clearly need a form of undying devotion that is best served by desperate, credulous acolytes.

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