US healthcare not a patch on NHS, says TV anchorman

American reporter lost vision in his left eye while on holiday in the West End

Tuesday, 10th April 2018 — By Emily Finch

Dane Placko

Dane Placko after his operation

AN American reporter who faced an emergency operation on his eye said the experience brought into perspective the stark differences between the US and British healthcare systems.

Dane Placko, 57, a regular face for Chicagoans who watch Fox 32 News, was on holiday in the West End with his two daughters over the Easter break.

He lost vision in his left eye while on a Harry Potter tour and the veteran anchorman, who joined Fox in 1992, was told by an optician to head straight to Moorfields eye hospital in City Road.

Experts operated on his detached retina which Mr Placko said “felt like the astronaut rushing through the tunnel of psychedelic lights in the movie 2001”.

Speaking to the Westminster Extra from his hotel in Bayswater, he said: “It was eye opening and interesting to experience the care and to see what it’s like to go through an NHS hospital.

Mr Placko on Fox 32 News

“The idea of universal healthcare has been debated and controversial [in America]. I’ve never had a chance to experience a national healthcare system but I found it lived up to the good and little bit of the bad. The only drawback was the waiting on the initial day.”

He said: “I’ve been of the belief the healthcare system [in the US] is immeasurably screwed up. Drug costs are regularly too high and treatment is too expensive. There are two classes of service people receive. People who have no money have to rely on public hospitals. They do a good job but can take a long time.

“Those who have money and good insurance receive good medical care.

“What struck me about my time at Moorfields was that there was a very broad cross section of society – people who didn’t have money and people who seemed to be prosperous individuals and of all ethnicities.”

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