People have been asking me lately if I wouldn't prefer to be back in Canada for all this cancer stuff. But I have been saying for a few days now that if I were sick or injured in Canada, I would beg and plead to be flown back to Italy.
They may not, as a nation, be able to organise their way out of a wet paper bag, but when it comes to the actual treatment of actual patients, give me Italian care any day.
The difference between the Anglo and the Latin world in health care is, I think, one of attitude. The Culture of Death is still very much an Anglo/Germanic/Scandie phenomenon. Northern European, in other words, and, as we have explored here in the past, a development of the Protestant Revolution. In the Anglo world, Capital-B Bioethics, what Wesley Smith has called "the science of figuring out who we can kill" has totally taken over. It is a medical philosophy of misanthropy and nihilism.
The Latin...or one should say, the Catholic medical world seems to still start with the idea that the purpose is to help the patient.
It's worth thinking about that a man as important as Professore Scambia has taken the time over the easter weekend to send me the following reassuring note:
Dear miss White,
I will be glad to give you all the information you need
I will contact you in the next few days.
Hello Professore Scambia,
> I am a patient at the Gemelli policlinico department of Ginecologia
> Oncologica and I wondered if you might be able to help me.
> I am being treated for cervical cancer that is at stage 1B1 with a 3.5 cm.
> tumour. I was told today that I might be able to avoid a hysterectomy And
> instead undertake a course of chemotherapy that would reduce the size of
> the tumour and render it possible to have a less invasive surgery.
> This was pending the agreement of the head of the department and the
> ethics committee and I am awaiting that decision.
> I have spent the evening reading on the internet a number of medical
> articles about the outcomes of neoadjuvant chemotherapy combined with
> radical vaginal trachelectomy and/or cervical conization and what I have
> read has made me very hopeful.
> Everything I have read has shown that the prognosis for this type of
> treatment for stage 1B1, even though it is not yet the standard, compares
> very favourably with hysterectomy in terms of rates of recurrence and
> intraoperative and postoperative complications.
> I am writing to you because I have found your own name on many of the
> articles I have read and wanted to know if you might be able to tell me
> more about it.
> I have found one article in English, published on the Science Direct
> website, titled, "Treatment of cervical cancer in Italy: strategies and
> their impact on women". I read the abstract with great interest and want
> to read the whole article and I was wondering if you might have a copy
> that you might be able to send me.
> I am particularly interested in it since it applies directly to my own
> I also apologise for not writing to you in Italian. I have lived here for
> a while, but my Italian is not yet good enough to write about complicated
> medical matters.
> I hope to hear from you,
> Hilary White