Government Health Care Horror Stories from Norway

A man – let’s call him Joseph K. – is slicing up a cucumber when he suddenly cuts off the tip of his thumb. He hastens to the E.R., where a doctor clips off the finger of a plastic glove, pours antibiotic into it, slips it over the thumb, then wraps a bandage around the entire finger.

That night the pain is so excruciating that Joseph – who wasn’t given a painkiller – can’t sleep. In the morning he phones the E.R. The woman who answers denies that he has reached the E.R. He hangs up, re-checks the number, and calls back. She then admits that it is the E.R., but insists that he has called “a strange number.” The ensuing conversation establishes that it is not, in fact, “a strange number,” but that the E.R. is simply not open at this hour. Until 3:30 P.M., the E.R. operates out of another location in the small, relatively remote town in which Joseph resides. “Call there,” she says dismissively.

Joseph does so, and is told that there’s no more room on their schedule for the day. “But you’re an E.R.!” he says.

“Well,” comes the indifferent reply, “you can come over and take a number.” But the chances of getting to see a doctor before closing time, he is warned, are slim.

He decides to give that option a pass. Some time later he phones the first place again, and gets the same woman he talked to earlier. “Oh, you again!” she groans.

He tells her that his thumb is still in great pain. “I think the doctor wrapped it too tightly,” he says. “I’m coming over there later, when you open.”

“You can’t just come here!” she snaps. “This is for acute cases, and that’s not acute! You’ve been going around with that finger all day!”

“Yes, but if I’m in a lot of pain, you can’t refuse to let me come to the E.R.!”

“Well, make an appointment if you insist, but you should know – there’s not always a doctor here!”

“What? There’s not always a doctor at the E.R.?”

“Yes, there’s not always a doctor here!”

“OK, well, can I ask you something? The bandage is so tight. Can I clip part of it off?”

“I can’t answer that. A doctor has to decide.”

“But what if there’s no doctor there?”

In the end he decides not to go to the E.R. after all. The next day, after another twenty-four hours of intense pain, he removes the bandage to find that a gigantic blister, the result of a too-tight bandage, has engulfed his entire thumb.

No, this isn’t a story from Uzbekistan or some such place. This episode, which took place last week, is just the most recent (and probably the most innocuous) item in my ever-expanding collection of anecdotes about encounters between people close to me and the health-care system in Norway. You know, the country that is constantly being named by the UN and a host of other organizations that presume to quantify such things as the world’s all-around most super-duper and wonderfulest place to live (most recently, just the other day, by Britain’s Legatus Institute); the country whose health-care system Michael Moore chose not to cover in his film Sicko because, he claimed, it was so terrific that nobody would believe it.

Before I proceed, another story, this one from three years ago. The protagonist this time is Joseph K.’s brother, Judah, who got a splinter of metal in his eye while working on a car and went to the same E.R. visited by Joseph in the anecdote above. The doctor on duty asked Judah if he would be paying with cash or a credit card. When Judah said that he didn’t have either form of payment on him at the moment, the doctor spat out: “Then go home and go blind!”

Yes, he said that. It’s not made up, folks, outrageous though it is. It’s just an example of the sort of thing that can happen – and that you really can’t do a damn thing about – when you socialize a health-care system.

I don’t mean to suggest that the American health-care system is without blemish. Far from it. By some measures, it’s been going downhill for a long time. My late father, an internist in New York, went to medical school in the 1940s and to the end of his life, like many doctors of his generation, thought of medicine as a ministry, a calling. He was always ready to answer the knock on the door in the middle of the night and run off with his medical bag to the house of some neighbor he didn’t even know – often staying there till morning, not only treating the patient but trying to put the family at ease. There was, of course, never any talk of payment. In his later years, he ranted more and more about the boom in malpractice suits (and malpractice insurance), the preoccupation of all too many of his younger colleagues with profits rather than patients, the ballooning cost of health care (partly owing to a growing reliance on expensive, unnecessary tests rather than on diagnostic skills), and the advent of HMOs. He felt that the precious relationship between physician and patient was being replaced by something increasingly cold, businesslike, and drained of personal concern and trust.

In his view – and he was right – this system needed an overhaul. But he was equally insistent that the answer didn’t lie in the kind of socialized medicine offered in countries like Norway. He didn’t live to hear the word Obamacare, but he wouldn’t have liked the idea.

I’ll admit this: if, like me, you’re a self-employed person with a marginal income, the Norwegian system is, in many ways, a boon – as long as you’re careful not to get anything much more serious than a cold or flu. Doctors’ visits are cheap; hospitalization is free. But you get what you pay for. There are excellent doctors in Norway – but there are also mediocrities and outright incompetents who in the U.S. would have been stripped of their licenses long ago. The fact is that while the ubiquity of frivolous malpractice lawsuits in the U.S. has been a disgrace, the inability of Norwegians to sue doctors or hospitals even in the most egregious of circumstances is even more of a disgrace. Physicians who in the U.S. would be dragged into court are, under the Norwegian system, reported to a local board consisting of their own colleagues – who are also, not infrequently, their longtime friends. (The government health system’s own website puts it this way: if you suspect malpractice, you have the right to “ask the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision in your county to evaluate” your claims.) As a result, doctors who should be forcibly retired, if not incarcerated, end up with a slap on the wrist. When patients are awarded financial damages, the sums – paid by the state, not the doctor – are insultingly small.

Take the case of Peter Franks, whose doctor sent him home twice despite a tennis-ball-sized lump in his chest that was oozing blood and pus – and that turned out to be a cancer that was diagnosed too late to save his life. Apropos of Franks’s case, a jurist who specializes in patients’ rights lamented that the Norwegian health-care system responds to sky-high malpractice figures “with a shrug,” and the dying Franks himself pronounced last year that “the responsibility for malpractice has been pulverized in Norway,” saying that “if I could have sued the doctor, I would have. Other doctors would have read about the lawsuit in the newspaper. Then they would have taken greater care to avoid making such a mistake themselves. But doctors in Norway don’t have to take responsibility for their mistakes. The state does it.” After a three-year legal struggle, Franks was awarded 2.7 million kroner by the Norwegian government – about half a million dollars.

Another aspect of Norway’s guild-like health-care system is that although the country suffers from a severe deficit of doctors, nurses, and midwives, the medical establishment makes it next to impossible for highly qualified foreign members of these professions to get certified to practice in Norway. The daughter of a friend of mine got a nursing degree at the University of North Dakota in 2009 but, as reported last Friday by NRK, is working in Seattle because the Norwegian authorities in charge of these matters – who have refused to be interviewed on this subject by NRK – have stubbornly denied her a license. Why? My guess is that the answer has a lot to do with three things: competence, competition, and control. If there were a surplus of doctors and nurses instead of a shortage, the good ones would drive out the bad. Plainly, such a situation must be avoided at all costs – including the cost of human lives.

Then there’s the waiting lists. At the beginning of 2012, over 281,000 patients in Norway, out of a population of five million, were awaiting treatment for some medical problem or other. Bureaucratic absurdities run rampant, as exemplified by this Aftenposten story from earlier this year:

Helga Kvinge discovered a lump in her breast in February. She couldn’t get an appointment for a check-up at Oslo University Hospital before April 3. So she contacted a private hospital and was examined there.

On March 1, she got an appointment at the private center that offers to check whether women have cancer. A few days later she was informed that the lump was cancer. The tests were sent to the laboratory at Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, and the doctor who made the diagnosis works at both OUS and the private hospital.

Kvinge, and the doctor at the private hospital, were sure that since it was clear she had cancer, she would receive an offer for treatment at Oslo University Hospital since she lives in Oslo.

But on Thursday of this week she was informed by OUS that she couldn’t be treated for her breast cancer until OUS itself had made the diagnosis.

Then there’s the Oslo-area couple whose one-year-old daughter fell and broke her arm. They took her to a nearby hospital, where over a period of hours they signed in, were sent to a waiting room, saw a doctor, and had X-rays taken – only to be told that the little girl couldn’t get a cast put on her arm there because the family’s address put her in another hospital’s district. They went to the other hospital, where they were put through the whole rigmarole all over again. Not a tragedy, but an example of the kind of dehumanization that infests the entire system.

And let’s not forget rationing. “Death panels”  are no fantasy. In a series of articles in 2010, Aftenposten reported on the decision by the Norwegian government’s health director to refuse certain treatments to certain “large patient groups” in order to curb costs. For example, “we can extend the lives of patients with heart failure by installing a heart pump…but this is a service we probably can’t offer. It’s too expensive.” The same goes for respirators in cases of emphysema or chronic bronchitis: “It could prolong the lives of patients, but it’s not something we can give to such a large group.” The elderly, likewise, are screwed: “we…spend too much money to extend the last phase of life for dying, often old, people.” Who’s to decide who receives treatment and who doesn’t? That, the health director answered, is a “political responsibility” – the job of politicians, not physicians.

I can’t imagine how my father would have reacted if he’d heard a doctor, especially one in a position of authority, say such a thing. For my father, having the letters M.D. after his name represented a sacred trust. He saw it as his responsibility to do everything in his power to heal – period. To even speak of putting a price tag on a human life was the height of obscenity.

But that was long ago, and in another country.

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  • Mary Sue

    Not surprising. Sounds like it's worse than Canada's health care, ye gawds. I hope ours never gets that bad!

    • kafir4life

      Canadians desiring health care come to the States.

      • Mary Sue

        yeah, particularly if the specialists that don't exist here exist in the states.

      • zionit

        palastinians requiring healthcare go to Israeli doctors.

      • Hysfjon

        Really? And here I thought that had been busted a long time ago:….

        • Mary Sue

          it's not busted. I hear regularly about people who can't get timely treatment in Canada or who can't find the specialist they need in Canada, so they HAVE to go to USA.

          • Garm

            Did you consider that those stories might not be true?

            I mean, on the one hand you got anecdotes about someone someone else knows, and on the other hand you got hard numbers from actual counting.

            Really, records are kept of how may people come to the US for medical treatment each year. 80 000 in total, including all countries and all vanity surgery.

            Numbers for how many leave for medical treatment are less certain, but somewhere between 1-1,5 million. Its one of the most brutal rejections of a system by citizens voting with their feet since East Germany.

            This whole inabilityto relate to the real world if it doesn't conform to what you expect isn't very functional.

          • Tracy

            The Premiere of one of the eastern seaboard provinces (I can't remember which one at the moment) went to the States for a medical procedure. It was all over the media at the time.

    • Grim Reader

      Its actually been worse in America for a long time.

      But…you sound generally sensible. Why do you fall for this? Its a couple of anecdotes you could get from any system, and a couple of facts thats easily checked and turns out to be wrong. And not just a little bit wrong.

      What is so compelling that this stuff turns off the critical thinking faculty?

  • Dirk

    Norway… No. 1 in rapes of white women… 99% committed by muslim immigrants. Of course silenced by your local leftwing media!
    Sorry, but I do not feel soory or these leftwing morrons. They wanted this system themselves!

    • Flynn McMahon

      Wow Dirk! I'd certainly be willing to bet there are a lot of Norwegians that are unhappy with what is going on. Based on your principal you've got to live with an Obama healthcare system because you wanted it yourself.

    • guest

      Muslims will get the same kind of healthcare. Maybe the enemy of my enemy would complain?

    • Hysfjon

      Just pointing out that if every assault rape in Norway was comitted by a muslim male, that would give muslim males in Norway 1/6th the rape numbers of the average American male.

      Still your concern is touching, Dirk, especially from someone with six times greater chance of raping a white woman than a muslim male.

  • Looking4Sanity

    Thank God we will soon be able to stop importing these government run heath care horror stories! We'll soon be creating all we can read right here in Amerika.

    • kafir4life

      Isn't that one of President Stinky's (BO) plans? To build them here….in the good ol' US of A?

      • Looking4Sanity

        Indeed. After many long years, Amerika will finally be # 1 at something again…besides killing unborn children and sodomy.

    • Jim_C

      Right, because no one in the U.S. has a health care-related horror story?


    The mayor of Malmo needs to be treated by Dr. Brevik.

  • BVK

    Cool story, Bawer.

  • Snorre

    As someone living in Oslo, it's always interesting to see how a system (with its faults, of course – but single mishaps with a blistered thumb cannot speak for a whole system) which makes most people feel safe and looked after, become demonized like this. My wife, for example, received a new kidney a few years ago. No insurance needed – the operation came for free. If you're not happy with the public hospitals for small injuries, you can always pay for a private service. They can of course turn you away if you're not able to pay – no public ER would do this – you don't have to pay before you get treatment there. And if you have to pay (usually just 20-30 bucks for a treatment, unless you've paid more than 200 bucks throughout the year – everything over that is free) you can get at bill with you, payable later.
    How about telling some horror stories from the US, from people not able to pay for their treatment, or having to fight with their insurance company?

    • kafir4life

      FREE is so awesome! I'm impressed that the doctors, the nurses, the aides, the hospital, the drug companies, the janitorial staff…..all donated their time and put your wife's care ahead of providing for their families. YES!! That's what we should do HERE in the US!!
      The only downside I see (once all health care and related providers decide to accept no compensation for their work) is where will sick Canadians come for health care? When Seven Harper's mother needed a triplebypass, he decided a 6+ month wait would kill her, and flew her to the US for surgery the next day.

    • Mary Sue

      It's not free, y'all are taxed up the @$$ to pay for it.

      • Grim Reader

        Well, the US government spends 9 % of US GDP on government health care (Medicare, medicaid etc) From tax money. The government of Norway spends 9 % of GDP on government health care. So in a sense it is free. An American pays that in tax for government health care and probably gets nothing. A Norwegian pays it and gets health care. Something rather than nothing for the same cost.

        • Mary Sue

          still not free. It costs something.

    • Flynn McMahon

      If you read carefully you would've noted that Bawer clearly indicated the US system has faults many of them egregious in the extreme. Everyone here can relate a story of poor treatment. What he is trying to point out that even in the alleged "best of all possible worlds" human judgement and institutional systems can still be very fare out of sync with human needs.

    • Looking4Sanity

      " the operation came for free."

      You poor child. NOTHING in life is free. How is it possible that you are old enough to have taken a wife and not learned this yet? I pity you your ignorance. You live in serfdom and call it freedom. You have no idea what true freedom is or the dangers it holds for those who understand and love it in spite of that. You petition government when you should be reserving that honor for God exclusively. One day soon you will answer for that affront. I do not envy you that task or your eternal future.

    • lissmth

      Free? Hahahahaha. You get what you pay for – after the bureaucrats have taken their cut.

  • kafir4life

    Did they vote for this?

    • Looking4Sanity

      Sadly, probably so. More is the pity.

  • LindaF

    In contrast to that woman with breast cancer, I have private insurance in the US. I was given my mammogram, which looked "funny". Within a few weeks, I was sent for a better exam, which confirmed that I just had "lumpy" breasts – NOT cancer.

    If it HAD been cancer, the surgery would have been on the schedule ASAP.

    I'm crossing my fingers that the Obamacare Menace is gone before I have to use it.

  • Mary Sue

    Free health care in Canada is so great, people die of Cancer before they can get properly treated!

  • H.j.Dcruz

    Take in more Muslim refugees and illegal immigrants as they have no human rights in their home country and so they can abuse the freedom in the west. Long live the west.

  • Demetrius M

    My family is still in Canada (Land of Euro Health Care) and here is the story of my grandfather's last year.
    In 2005 he suffered a serious stroke, but remained living at home with help from my sister.
    Following a series of "micro strokes" he was placed in a hospital in Hamilton Ontario.
    The hospital said that "there was no serious damage", but that he couldn't go home and must be placed in a retirement home.
    At this point I arrive (two days after he was admitted). The first thing I notice is severe redness on his left foot. It looked like gangrene and I pointed it out to the doctors and nurses. For the next 20 days I visited I and other visitors pointed this infection out to anyone who would listen, but they did nothing.

    • Demetrius M

      After a placement opened up in a nursing home, he moved. Three days later they send him back to another hospital because the infection was now life threatening. They remove his leg from the knee down.
      Through all this I kept wondering why did they fail to treat the infection. Why after 23 days of pointing it out did they ignore our pleas?
      I found out later that my parents were forced to pay the hospital to keep him admitted because it was determined he could not return home and there were no nursing home openings at the time. If the hospital had to treat my grandfather for the infection, they would not have been obligated to pay.
      Sickening isn't it?

      • Mary Sue

        downright scary.

    • Demetrius M

      Not sure why I wrote it occurred last year, he died last year. Sorry.

    • Mary Sue

      This reminds me of when someone I know fell and hurt her leg. They found out she had a tendon completely separated and it needed reattaching, but the problem is, once you turn 80 here, they just want you to die. So they wouldn't offer her surgery to fix it. She's in pretty good health for her age but if they'd have fixed that when they were supposed to her ability to walk would be much better.

  • Ray Olson

    I found two books of immense help in thinking about the American health care system:

    A Second Opinion: Rescuing America's Health Care, by Arnold S. Reiman. You may read my review of it for Booklist at One of Dr. Reiman's animating concerns is that all doctors again be as conscientious as Mr. Bawer's father and feel the same sense of calling.

    Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future, by Andrew Weil. Of it I wrote, for Booklist:

    Rather than another advisor on healthy living, Weil’s new book is a remarkably comprehensive brief for health-care reform. Three long-held American beliefs—the U.S. health care system is the best in the world, U.S. medical technology is that system’s greatest asset, and U.S. medical schools and research facilities produce the best physicians and medical knowledge—are now just myths, he says, as comparisons with other nations’ health statistics and trends in domestic health confirm. Moreover, the system’s costliness is bankrupting American business as well as the government. What is needed instead is a system in which doctors interact with patients much more than they do now; in which all citizens receive care; and in which insurance and care—the latter considered an art, not an industry—are affordable. The prevention of disease and the promotion of health should animate such a system, and if they entail legal restrictions on bad food similar to those on alcohol and tobacco, so be it. Essential to realizing this better system are reforming medical education to reverse the enormous recent decline in general and family practitioners and to restore nonpharmaceutical and non-high-tech means of healing to the medical armamentarium; closing for-profit hospitals; and stringently regulating if not eliminating the for-profit insurance, drug, and medical-hardware industries. Health-care reform is the big American domestic issue of the day. This book is the one to read to think broadly, deeply, and clearly about it.

    I expect that some contributors to this stream and this site will refuse to so much as glance at these books because each proposes a role for government in health care systems. Unlike them, I'm not a free-market totalitarian nor any other kind of ideologue.

    • fiddler

      You don't touch however on malpractice suits. Family practitioners are wonderful, in a perfect world., but people in days gone by there was rampant quackery for which unsuspecting people were mutilated or lost their lives.

      True, people must take responsibility for their health; and since we are the on the subject WOMEN should take responsibility for theirs! Rather than dispensing condoms at schools, why not try a little morality and as with the "just say no" mantra of times past, how about saying NO to premarital sex? Unless one is irrecoverably naive, why is accessibility to contraceptives a woman's right to foist upon a spiritual institution, but morality (i.e. abstinence) is anathema? The same people who advocate for responsible eating, can also advocate for responsible sex in marriage. Unpopular? Too bad.

      • Ray Olson

        I didn't touch malpractice suits in my reviews, but my recollection is that both authors do address malpractice suits and other litigiousness to the extent that they needlessly and harmfully get in the way of good medicine, not least by making it much more costly for all physicians, in time as well as money.

        I'm with you on women's responsibility. especially about sex. But what happened to male chivalrousness and virtue? Where are the men who respect a woman and her health enough to NOT fornicate with a woman regardless of whether she said NO–to, as we used to say, not take advantage of her?

  • shalrath

    Why do those on the right complain about socialized medicine, and then go and complain about death panels? Death panels are the one thing they do right. There's not enough money to fix everybody's medical problems. We don't even want the government involved in the administration of medical matters, right? So why care when they decide to get uninvolved in some of the more expensive ones? Seems extremely illogical to me.

    • Atikva

      You must be joking or out of your mind.

      The death panel scheme doesn't concern only very old people, but all those who can't pay taxes, including children and those young adults who couldn't be productive enough to continue paying for their health insurance.after being cured. Just wait until they let your kids or your mother die without treatment. Just wait until you become partially unproductive and condemned to the same fate.

      And by the way, there is never "enough money" when the government handles anything. There isn't ONE government-managed program in the whole world that runs efficiently at minimum cost. Not one.
      The type of totalitarian government Mr. Obama is pushing down our throats ignores competitiveness and individual initiative – not to mention basic decency..

    • Mary Sue

      you are out of your freaking mind. Why is it that those on the Left claim they are all about COMPASSION and then institute things like 'death panels'? That is not compassionate at all.

      • Jim_C

        "Death panels"–or as sane, non-boneheads call it– "End of life planning"–refers to provision for individuals and their families to consult with a physician about choices made at end of life to make sure families are not blindsided with sudden choices, fees, pressures, arrangements, wills, etc. It's something too few think about; this will actually help "mainstream" it.

        • Mary Sue

          we don't need no stinking 'death panels' for that.

  • Tanstaafl jw

    Don't get sick.

  • riverboatbill

    This is what happens when Hippocratic doctors are replaced by "treatment providers".

  • geoplaten

    "I’ll admit this: if, like me, you’re a self-employed person with a marginal income, the Norwegian system is, in many ways, a boon – as long as you’re careful not to get anything much more serious than a cold or flu. "

    Isn't it great? "Free" healthcare is glorious – until you really need it.

  • Jim_C

    Too bad "Obamacare" is nothing like the Norwegian system. (I almost wish it were).

  • Stuart Parsons

    The U.S is renowned for its ambulance and hospital chasing lawyers. All systems of healthcare make mistakes. Human infallibility is inevitable. The National Health Systems of European countries are fully supported by the vast majority. My local newspaper in the U.K regularly receives letters expressing thanks to our local hospital for the good treatment and care received. Any U.K politician who suggested moving over to Obamacare would be hung, drawn and quartered and stand no chane of re-election.
    Any European political party which suggested introducing Obamacare would be committing suicide. In the U.K we have had National Health Care for 64 years….. it isn't perfect, nothing is, but we like it. I am 82 and in reasonable health, but I would have been dead, aged 72, without our National health System.

  • Grim Reader

    This does raise an interesting question: A large number of Norwegians have visited or lived in the US, and they would all rather gourge their eyes out with rusty spoons than copy the American health care system. (Something they have in common with American living in Norway) Why is that if the Norwegian system is so bad?

    The answer, of course, lies in this sentence: "I don’t mean to suggest that the American health-care system is without blemish" In fact, the American system does significantly worse on every measure mentioned in this article.

    On episodes of poor treatment form doctors, there is a public health measure for that: Amendable mortality. The US has almost 40 % more incidencts per doctor. In fact, the US has over 75 000 under-75 deaths per year that would have been prevented if the healthcare quality matched the best Europeans. (Reducing Preventable Deaths Through Improved Health System Performance, 2008)

    Shortage of doctors and nurses? Well Norway has almost twice the density of physicians that America does, 42 per 10000 people versus 24, and more than three times the number of nurses and midwives. 319 vs. 98. (

  • Grim Reader

    Waiting lists? Well, the article conveiniently forgot to mention that the number referred to is a short-term backlog of referrals after a reorganization. The link also mentions that actual waits for non-urgent matters is at 60 days and still dropping. Compare that to the number of uninsured or underinsured in the US…

    And the rest of it is no better. Compare the "judgement of your peers" system of Norway to the US system of tort and malpractice lawsuits.

    S…tuff like this is why you lose elections.

    Anyone can list a number of anecdotes and mistakes in huge systems, and be believed by the gullible. (And why exactly did Joseph and Judah keep going to the emergency room rather than their personal physican? Thats strange) But if you take pesudo-medical claptrap like this out to people who have some background knowledge, or worse yet -check out the facts, you're going to be laughed at. That does not convince anyone who is not deeply invested already, and drives away anyone with the least critical reasoning.

    And why did everyone unquestioningly believe things like Norway being short of medical personell? Its pretty counterintuitive, and not hard to check.

  • Loyal Achates

    So then why are the Norwegians healthier, live longer, and pay less for health care?

    • Mary Sue

      they don't tell you about the ones that die.

      • Garm

        I think you'll find first world nations keep pretty good records.

        At some point, Americans must stop making excuses for the system and start working to improve it. This denial-of-reality thing is the fasttrack to has-been status.

  • Ghostwriter

    I doubt many Europeans want Americans copying their health care system. It's simply not very good.

  • fahidag

    It's a pity that Fjordman's critique doesn't include his reasoning for why Bawer should have attacked his latest work 'from a different angle'. I think the title of the work is very effective, and it certainly leaves no doubt in this commentors mind of the treachery that is the current 'status quo' of modern day Norweigian government,,

    I'll buy the book too!

  • Peter Andy

    Health is wealth! We are going to our doctor to escape from our illness but when they would become the reason to increase our pain that is quietly bed news. I think that every doctor should take care about matter. Thanks!

  • Free Samples

    Massive blog it is! Although i have found some health care horror stories from here and by reading these stories i have understood the condition of health sector in Norway and i don't know what to say but it's totally alarming situation over there and that is why government should take step to remove this problem. Thanks

  • Rozsa

    I enjoyed the insight into another medical system. I went to medical school in Romania and literally got disgusted of doctoring and authoritarian attitude. The meaning of M.D. or Dr. is something completely different for the majority of doctors there. I even witnessed the skirt being ripped off a patient at a gynecology ward. How insane is that?! I would love to have long conversations with your dad just so he can give my hope back. Hope he shared great stories with you…

    Greetings from a Hungarian doctor to be

  • Callum Green

    Absolute rubbish. Not one of the failings you highlighted is the result of it being a “socialist system” – it is the result of a badly implemented system.

    Just like the similar list of horror stories you’ll find in the US aren’t a result of it being a capitalist system (well, excluding the people who die/suffer because they can’t afford to pay) – they are the result of a badly implemented system.

    • Betty Bryant

      Didn’t the article say that Norway was touted as an example of a great system?

      • Callum Green

        It says Michael Moore called it a great system. I don’t see how that has any relevance to anything I’ve said? Though as someone who wouldn’t be able to afford decent medical insurance, I know which system I think is “great” – and it certainly isn’t the US…

      • Gnask

        It was touted as being a great healthcare system by Michael Moore, who also claims that Cuba has the best healthcare sytem in the world. I’ve travelled there extensively, have made a doctor friend, and I can tell you, that’s not even remotely the case.

        They have good doctors, sure. But thanks to the embargo, they have massive medication shortages, sometimes even shortages of things like bandages. Hosptials often don’t have glass in their windows, you have to bring your own sheets, and you often have to pay bribes to get care in a reasonable time.

        Suffice it to say, his claims mean less than nothing.

  • Sam Osborne

    The author of this propaganda piece probably ought to get himself a new imaginary source for his tale and think up a much more astounding chain of events that runs from a need for simple first-aid which through neglect ends up with the victim of neglect infecting the entire human race with a disease that has evolved out of the mistreatment of Norwegian universal health-care system

    But oh, don’t use that word “evolved.” Instead make the medical calamity due to God’s revenge that He has been harboring toward Cesar ever since one of Cesar government boys, Pontius Pilate, washed his hand of God’s Only Begotten Son—evolution does not play well with the religious right.

  • Mimi

    This blogger is a Fellow of Journalism? Really? Allegories with made-up names? The worst is a thumb blister because of a too-tight bandage? Or a snide remark by a doctor. This is hardly a horror story. And it’s not journalism.

    So 281,000 Norwegians are awaiting a medical treatment. So I am — I have an annual eye exam in two months. Are these the kinds of stats you’re using.

    • Gnask

      Yeah, pretty much.

      Yes, there’s failures in the sytem here, but it’s not the way he makes it out. Things are just odd about the anecdotes. You don’t make appointments at the “ER” here. You’ll never be denied treatement for lack of beign able to pay either. They send you a bill if you can’t pay (unless you’re going private of course).

      It is true that suing doctors isn’t so cut and dry, you have to have a sufficent level of malpractice. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get compensation. There’s an independant board who handles those, with a seperate board who handles appeals. The ssytem is designed to that everyone has the right to seek compensation, not just the ones who can afford to pay a lawyer.

      As for the woman with breast cancer, what the author fails to translate is that they changed their policy to do their own diagnosis pretty quick. The newspaper tries to take credit for that, but that’s just typical overinflated journalistic ego.

      As for the man with the tumor, yeah wrong diagnosis can happen. It’s horribly tragic when it does, and it happens everywhere. Oh, and the author failed to translate the most important bit of that article. Pasient injury compensation board approved compensation for him. So yeah, there was an official aknowledgement something went very wrong there. Yes, the doctor can have consequences for that too.

  • Angry Norwegian

    Wonder why such lies are spread… I live in Norway and know the system so much better than this *bleep* Lies to cover up the craptastic system you have in your messed up country. Stop spreading lies, you’re just making an ass of yourself