Patriots boast that American medicine is the best in the world. My view is more nuanced, but let me take their point of view. You’ll be amazed at the dumb things foreign doctors do!

They don’t give antibiotics for ear infections!

If your child suffers a miserable, painful ear infection, your doctor prescribes an antibiotic. In many European countries, doctors give medicines for pain and fever but no antibiotic. If you’re wondering what happens to these poor children with earaches, the answer is: they get better. Even in America, experts debate whether or not antibiotics work for ear infections. Maybe they don’t. Until experts make up their minds, American doctors will prescribe antibiotics.

They don’t care for hysterectomies!

Many women develop lumpy growths on the uterus called fibroids which may cause pain and irregular menstrual bleeding. A gynecologist can cure this by removing the uterus. It’s the second most common operation American women undergo (after caesarians; America leads the world in both).

The French have the odd idea the world would be a better place if there were more Frenchmen, so French doctors don’t sterilize women if they can avoid it. Mostly, they perform a myomectomy, an operation that cuts off the fibroids but leaves the uterus intact. The surgery is more complicated and takes longer than a simple hysterectomy. American gynecologists do both.

They don’t try to cure every patient.

American doctors order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics, chemotherapy, and other powerful drugs than foreign doctors. They also perform far more surgery. These extras don’t necessarily cure. Sometimes they make patients sicker, but the important thing is that we’re doing something. American like aggressive doctors.

Foreign doctors spend a great deal of time making patients feel better – for example by ordering physical therapy (massage, exercise, heat, baths). American doctors prescribe physical therapy to help recovery after surgery or injuries. European doctors prescribe it after childbirth and for migraines, irritable bowels, arthritis, fatigue, depression – dozens of problems. European doctors actually send patients to health spas for baths, massage, etc., and health insurance pays for it! If you believe this is a waste of money, American doctors agree. Patients may feel better after a spa treatment, they explain, but it’s psychosomatic (in other words, if someone feels better – but it’s only psychosomatic – that’s not good).

Mike Oppenheim