Princess Diana's Death Offers Lessons for Health Care Debate, 12 Years Later

"Soon after, I received a call from a doctor on the scene telling me exactly what was going on and what treatment Luke was getting at the school," she said. "He suggested taking Luke to the hospital for a few hours of observation, after which I could pick him up."

U.S. Emergency Rooms 'Tangle of Forms'

"I find the emergency room responses the most dramatic change from the U.S.," Mary said. "I've always had excellent health insurance in the U.S. and I've found every American emergency room visit a tangle as I fill out form after form and sign over my first born before anyone will even look at an injured or sick kid.

"Here, because everyone is insured, there's never any questions in hospitals that people will be treated, and treated quickly, because there's no worry someone's going to be stiffed with the bill."

Jois-Bilowich agreed that the French system is more cost-effective and that most people admitted to U.S. emergency rooms are treated and then released. But, she argues, the U.S. system of trauma care is superior.

As for the ill-fated accident that took the life of Diana, she won't venture a guess at what her outcome might have been in the United States, noting that even simple trauma cases can "crash" on the operating table.

"I, personally, really hate the retroscope," she said. "We weren't there and we didn't know the circumstances. Every patient is an individual human being and not a computer system, and so many things can confound what you think is a simple situation."

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