This is a question we all want the answer too, but none of us ever want to find out first hand.
Well we can answer that question for you, it is excellent, and dare we say it, we found it on a par with France and you can’t get more of a compliment than that!
Now you are maybe wondering how we know.
Well we had one of those awful situations, eating lunch, John tried some of my bacalhao (cod) which was actually delicious, but that is another blog, how nice the food is here.
After eating some of the fish, he went very quiet, and slightly pale. After a few semi discreet coughs, he said he could feel a bone in his throat. Not to the extent that an ambulance was required, but definitely to the extent it was not pleasant (reported minus the swear words).
So of course phones come out and google is consulted.
First it is drinking some olive oil, now I love olive oil, but I was gagging watching him drink it, no result, next is dry bread, not sure how this one works but apparently it can dislodge it, no joy.
Drinking water – no joy.
As we leave the restaurant with friends, we get our friend, who is almost the same size as John to slap him on the back, after many slaps still no joy.
There is nothing left but a trip to A&E. We go to Tomar hospital (the closest to us).
A scary situation, but I am going to blow my own trumpet here, as I manage to do most of the talking in Portuguese, the receptionist asks what the problem is and as I explain he has eaten some fish, he replies ahh, yes a bone. This is obviously a common occurrence.
We are told to wait in an almost empty waiting room and called through very quickly to triage, all details are taken again and blood pressure taken.
We were then called in to a treatment room, the doctor could not speak English and my Portuguese was starting to falter now it looked more serious, another doctor was called in.
John was laid on a bed and had his head tilted as they inserted an enormous shoe horn in to his mouth. Unfortunately, they could not see the bone. But as John got up, he said it felt different, so we assume the shoe horn had dislodged it.
The doctor explained that if it was not better by tomorrow he would need to visit a specialist department in Lisbon, for a camera to be inserted and further treatment.
As we left we checked out at the reception and explained we did not have our numero do utente on us (this is our health number, which we now always carry) the receptionist filled in all the details and gave us an email address to send the number to.
This entire visited from start to finish took approx. 40 minutes.
So the answer to the original question is:
Portugal’s A&E is excellent.
John recovered well after a few days of a very sore throat.
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