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Pécs, Hungary

  One year I was an English teacher in Pécs, Hungary. Part of the attraction of the job was medical insurance. I had not had insurance for years, so I was looking forward to getting the varicose veins on my leg worked on.
  The local hospital retained its communist-era, what-you-see-is-what-you-get name of Four Hundred Bed Hospital. It was an interesting experience, to put it mildly. I didn't even mind that I was called "Mr. Forest". The operation was more or less unsuccessful and I was later told that the technique used--"stripping"--is an ineffective, old-fashioned method. I didn't mind. It was free.   I left Hungary at the end of the school year to tour around Spain with my parents. I promptly got food poisoning and in an ultrasound the doctor discovered I also had gall stones. (Somehow I have all the old lady ailments.) A few months later I went back to Hungary. My insurance had run out, but I discovered the father of one of my old students happened to be a doctor at the same Four Hundred Bed Hospital. There I had gall stones and my gall bladder removed.
  I believe this cost about $200.

  After I recovered from this (many thanks to Bruce Abrams for letting me recuperate at his place) I traveled to Albania. When I returned to Pécs I had an operation for a double hernia that the doctor recommended since I was already here and predisposed to such surgery. (No good photos from that op, but it would be hard to display those, anyway.)
  This cost about $100.
  The hospital staff by now was quite humored that a "rich" American would come to Hungary for medical treatment no less than 3 times.