Volunteer In France


 By Trevor W - Brossac
A compliment to The French health service

This is a question I am consistently being asked, and to which I give this as one of my answers.

Had I not lived in South West France I truly believe I would not be alive today, as in the year 2000, at Christmas time, I had a serious heart attack and as my house is in the heart of The Charente’s farmland, in a small French hamlet some 8 km from Brossac village. The hamlet is not even on any map, except Ordinance Survey maps,  it was unlikely that I would receive the necessary medical treatment in time.

My wife telephoned my Doctor’s office immediately, but he was on his rounds, so the Practice sent me the Standby emergency  Doctor from the neiboroughing  town of Chalais, which was some 18 kilometers from my home.

The young French Doctor arrived within 15 minutes, and on seeing my condition he immediately telephoned for an ambulance SAMU.

This arrived from Brossac within 10 minutes, carrying 4 Paramedics, closely followed by a lady French Doctor who immediately took charge of the situation and had me wired to life support equipment within 10 minutes.

The Paramedics then transferred me to a stretcher and carried me to the ambulance with the equipment still attached.   I was immediately taken to Angouleme Hospital some 58 kilometers from my home.  This took just over half an hour.

A French medical team was waiting for my arrival and I was immediately taken to Accident and Emergency for inspection by a Heart Surgeon.  He thoroughly checked all my arteries on a machine which gave pictures of my blood flows on a visual aid machine which even gave sound echoes of my blood flow.

In less than 2 hours I was in an Intensive Care Unit bed fully wired up to my own system which monitored my heart and was under constant survey by a team of medical staff.

I was kept in Angouleme hospital for 2 weeks and during this time I was given daily examinations and was diagnosed for a triple heart bypass.

After this 2 week stay I was sent home for 2 months and then received a letter asking me to attend the Heart Hospital in Bordeaux for the operation which took place on 6th March 2001.

After 2 weeks I was asked to attend a Recuperation Center for one month, but I asked to be excused because my wife was seriously ill and had been for 4 years with an inoperable disease.   However from that date, a Heart Surgeon is constantly monitoring me twice a year – so now you know one of the reasons why I live in France!!!

Trevor W - Brossac  Charente South west France

The French health service

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