Well, just in case you have to go to the emergency room of the Avignon hospital, I thought I'd tell a tale of a most pleasant visit. As in most such cases, this was not a destination I would have chosen to spend my Thursday afternoon, skipping lunch with Isabelle and Paul Pierre and dashing off mere minutes after finishing up in the cheese laboratory. But, when you have multiple teens and pre-teens in your home, I suppose it is simply to be expected that at some point a child will injure himself.
And such was the case. Gaetan was playing basketball with his class, tripped over another's feet, and landed hard on his hand. The firemen and the ambulance arrived, and he was whisked off to the hospital. The school called me on my cell phone, I communicated with Gaetan's parents, and then headed promptly over, picking him up some lunch on the way at my favorite baker's. Once I'd established with the reception desk that I was his guardian, and that his parents were a phone call away, I was brought to where he was waiting. He'd already been x-rayed, and was holding the prints in his hands. The nurse wheeled him back to the Pediatric ward and there we spent a very uneventful and tiresome two hours plus.
At long last, the room used for making casts was liberated (it was also the room for sewing up screaming toddlers) and we toddled on in, set Gaetan down on the examining table, and a most lovely, young doctor got to work, alongside two bright and funny nurses, making his cast.
Our afternoon had been boring, time-consuming and lengthy (no books or magazines on hand for distraction), but far from unpleasant. The overworked nurses were to a person helpful as they could be, the place clean, not over large, and functioning as smoothly as could be managed. And, as we left, we were told the bill would be in the mail.
When I asked how much the bill was likely to be for an x-ray, a cast, the pain relievers, care, etc., I was told, oh, between 25 and 50 Euros.
Life could be a lot worse, hm?
The message here being, do not worry overmuch if you get hurt in Avignon (or France). The ambulance service is rapid and efficient; the hospital clean and helpful; the waits tolerable, and the personnel remarkably affable and competent. And even if you do need to pay out of pocket, I promise, you'll be able to afford it!