What is the worst thing about living in Germany today?
The German health care (personal experience of my daughter’s birth in Berlin).
If you had a better one, I am happy for you. If you have a similar story, I feel for you.
Before I start, let me share:
This is my wife’s dinner, after:
22hours of fasting and undergoing a C-sec in Berlin.
By the way, those 2 slices of meat are pork (pig) and my wife is a vegetarian (the oranges on top right is what we took with us in anticipation of hospital food).
This was in Sept,21.
By this time, we, as a couple, had paid German insurance for 8+years (by wife) and 7+years (by me). Assuming a Germany average household gross income of ~3,000 EUR per month, our total insurance payments since we moved to Germany were €39,000 or INR 35,00,000 (35 Lakhs).
This is only our contribution. The employer makes a matching contribution.
I have shared the dinner pic we got in our room, couple of hours after our daughter was born. We stayed in this room from Friday to Monday afternoon. None of the meals got any better. The staff will just walk into the room and dump the food on the table and leave (we were too exhausted and dazed to even bother).
One day, for lunch, we were served Goulash (beef).
The water was kept outside in a common area. The machine for hot water was kept under a lock and key. This meant begging the nurse on duty for access - which was everytime met with a scowl conveying f**k you.
Is this food and behaviour a reflection of the monetary contributions made?
Speaking of the staff, this was the cherry on the cake. Surronded by new-borns, I was stunned how inhuman, frustrated and pissed off the staff was. While there can be very genuine reasons for this (long hours, stressful cases etc), there is no justification for treating new parents like shit.
The staff was:
- rude - incosiderate - only spoke German (giving medication instructions, asking for pain, telling what to do etc) - lacked empathy - lacked cultural understading and wore a scowl for the entire duration of our stay.
The whole ward was severly under-staffed. The whole environment was suffocating and gave us a feeling of being trapped in a hostile place, where we were an unwelcome couple.
U1 and U2 :
These are 2 tests which are done after a baby is born : U1 happens right after the birth, U2 happens after 48 hours of birth (if you stay in the hospital).
Our daughter was born on Friday afternoon. The U2 should have been done on Sunday afternoon/evening. This is what we knew from other friends who had kids in Berlin recently. This is also why we took our food supplies to last till Sunday evening at most.
Imagine our shock and disbelief, when the nurse informed us with a straight face (in German):
Since its a Sunday, the U2 will take place on Monday. There is no doctor for this duty in the ward on Sunday.
We were shocked and completely broken down. That Sunday afternoon and evening was the worst phase of our stay in that hospital. We didnt want to be with those people for 1 second more than necessary.
Only in Germany can a newborn’s scheduled examination be delayed because of a SUNDAY!
We were resigned to the fact that we will have to stay in the hospital entire Monday or even beyond. Luckily, we were called for a U2 appointment on Monday morning. We jumped at the chance and took it.
Unfortunately, my wife was in pain and her recovery was taking longer than expected. Due to this, the doctor who came on Monday morning to examine her suggested that she has an ultrasound before leaving the hospital.
We were called for the U2 at the same time.
I was torn, since my wife needed my support to even stand up from a chair. Here, she was required to go from 4th floor to 1st floor on her own (since I was taking the baby for U2).
None of the nurses or the hospital staff or doctor offered any help or assistance. They saw me walking from the room to the ward door, with daughter on one side and wife heavily leaning on me. No a single hospital staff stopped to check or ask if we needed help.
My wife walked on her own to get the ultrasound. She came back 30 minutes after my daughter’s U2 was done. While in pain, she was happy that there was nothing serious. We could leave for home.
We took this opportunity to get out and leave that soul sucking place as quickly as possible. Packed up all the stuff, put the baby in her car seat and walked out alone, again with no assistance or even being asked for any kind of help (we honeslty didn’t expect anything or even cared by this time)
Couple of weeks later : We met very close friends and shared this experience. A female friend asked “ they didnt even ask or provide you with a wheelchair?”. My wife and I looked at each other. We were so wiped out after our kid’s birth, it did not even register to us that there is something called wheelchair in hospitals.
Our friend cried listening to all this (and a whole lot more that I have not shared here).
Family is family:
We returned to our home on Monday afternoon. My sister in law had flown in from India to help us during this time. Our spirits were already getting better the moment we left that place.
Tuesday morning - our sister in law served us breakfast in bed.
My wife and I had tears in our eyes.