The Adventure of the ER and codes of “triage”
First of all a foreigner who decides to come to Italy should realize that you are not traveling to one country but he is going to visit several ones and very different from each other. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong and that our tourist has to resort to hospital care it would be good to know from the start that he will have to apply the law of “unpredictable variegation” immediately.
In the same city he might end up in a “good hospital” or in a so called “Dante’s Purgatory” … and unfortunately, these categories are not clearly specified on entry.
Beside this not always the outward appearance (accessible toilets open, clean and equipped with toilet paper, polished floor, nurses with physio gnomic reassuring features) is a quality guarantee …. the common logic in this country can be misleading. The apparent efficiency can only be the dressing in which a department head with a highly developed aesthetic sense is trying to hide the flaws of their own department. On the contrary, certain departments may reveal a Dickensian-looking aspect can reveal a very human conduction, expert and totally satisfying.
So, taking for granted that first impressions count for nothing, we proceed in the emergency room. In Italy, anyone present at the hospital, denouncing the urgent need of medical care can access to the National Health Service structures just paying a common priced ticket for the service received. I said anyone! ….and waiting along with you will find anyone.
Given that the severity of your case is judged upon entry based on an unpredictable chromatic code (Red-severe, Yellow-you might kick the bucket but there is somebody worse off than you ahead, Green-we will get to you when we have time – be patience – White-warn the folks at home that it’s going to be long!) if, as I wish you, your code is green, you can spend the next 4/6 hours observing various forms of humanity parade in front of you.
Last year our daughter Zoe slightly sprained her ankle playing beach volleyball at the pool; during the long hours of waiting at the ER ward, before they decided to run X-Rays, we witnessed the arrival of two Albanian men, one young and one older that at the end of a birthday party had decided to bash each others heads for reasons which escaped even them.
Another element to keep into consideration is your arrival hour: people tend to get injured more and sick at night (instead of sleeping) so if you decide to experiment Italian hospitals try to harm
yourself during the day.
So, dear tourists expect the fact that there is always good and bad news: you will pay little but it might not be a pretty experience.