When Healthcare In Spain Goes Wrong

Published on 30/07/2007 in Health

The following is a letter of complaint submitted by one of our members to Medifiatc Medical Insurance in Spain.  Some names have been removed from the letter.
_________________________________________________________________

24 July 2007

Complaints Department
Fiatc Seguros
Medifiatc
Central
Avenida Diagonal
648-0817
Barcelona

Dear Sir/Madam,

RE: MR JOHN ALBERT SCOTT – CARD NO.054 02 0114985 01

With reference to the above policy I wish to file a formal complaint.

I do not know where to start, at the beginning I suppose.  When my husband became sick I rung your emergency number and we went to the first hospital that we were directed to Clinica de la Encarnacion in Malaga, on the 11th June, where we were told they would have all the facilities.

They gave my husband a chest x-ray where it was decided he had a cloud on his lung, they offered no other facility at that time.

Because of that we were then directed to a specialist in the afternoon of that same day, he did nothing, but told us to go to San Antonio hospital in Malaga.  The specialist said that as my husband had already attended two places in one day, which we had travelled to by bus; we should go to the next hospital the following morning. Here my husband was admitted to have more tests. Cat scan, blood tests etc. etc.  My husband was asked to stay for a week.  On the last day he was informed he had to stay one more day just to have a blood test done, which I am sure could have been done the previous day, if done prior to the CAT scan. This was not organised very well.

They then informed us he needed to have a PET scan done urgently. When I contacted your Malaga head office they said we needed to send a fax, I agreed we would email the report through for your doctors to look at.

Can I just say I do not understand this procedure. If my husband had not had me here, he would not have been able to book any appointments or attend them. When a person is sick they are not able to do this all by themselves, and some people do not have anyone, the hospitals should be the ones contacting your offices especially if you are being referred to another hospital or specialist.  What would have happened if I had not been with him?   I will tell you, if it were not for me my husband would NOT have been able to book any appointments or been strong enough to go to any appointments made for him, sometimes remembering the number, times and places of the appointments was difficult for me and certainly for my husband. 

I feel he should have been admitted to ONE hospital to take ALL the tests. A decision made as to what treatment was needed, and then treated all in the same place. He should not have been in one hospital, out of that hospital, and then referred to another hospital, then out of that hospital.  None of this helped him. At this time he was very sick and did not have the strength to carry on; it just wore him out even more!

I spoke to a man called F_____ E_______ who was really helpful and as soon as I had emailed the report through he responded and then went on holiday.  I then rung your office and it was agreed that Benalmadena would be the best place to go, as an outpatient.  All the time my husband was getting sicker and sicker and no real attention was being given to him.

The PET scan was agreed, we had to make appointments with the Radiologist, Neumologist, Haematologist, Oncologist, etc. etc. for 20th June, 28th June, 29th June, and 4 appointments for the 4th July, and one for the 5th July.  As you know my husband died on the 3rd July, so did not attend quite a few of the appointments, As  time moved on, my husband had a platelet problem so no help could be given until they found out what that problem was.  He would have to have a bone marrow scan, a bone scan, MRI scans, still no treatment given, and NO pain relief.

Because the appointments were made he stayed at home for 2-3days, in considerable pain, awaiting his appointments taking only paracetomol and ibuprofen.  WHY OH WHY were we not admitted to one hospital that did all these things as quickly as possible or pain relief given?

We did not know where to go for the pain relief until I rung around the hospitals to find out if they could take him in to give him the necessary pain relief.  By the time my husband went into hospital to get pain relief his speech had gone his co-ordination had gone, he could not think or make any decisions and he could not walk properly.

After persuasion I managed to get him to agree on the 3rd of July at 2.30a.m. to go for pain relief, at 11.45a.m. he was dead.  When asked if I would stay the night with him, which is usual here in Spain but not in England, no one informed me that he was critically ill or that death could be imminent or I would have stayed with him.

Although I cannot fault the quality of the medical attention he was given it was far too little far too late.  It may not have saved his life but may have helped him die in a more peaceful way as opposed to suffering in that manner.

My husband was in hospital for one week, where we knew he was ill but he appeared to be O.K. and then one week at home waiting for appointments where he deteriorated very, very quickly with very little help. I feel if he was in hospital he may have got a lot more help than we were given. We were told it was serious – but people are told that and have two years left to live.  No real warning or idea was given that my husband’s condition was critical.

Lastly within 20 minutes of my husband dying my daughter asked the translator at the private hospital in Benalmadena that you recommended, what we needed to do next. My daughter asked if we could arrange for clothes for my husband to wear at his funeral and we were told in these exact words “No we do not allow them to wear their own clothes here in Spain they go in a body bag”. At the time we were not thinking in a coherent manner as to what she had said, but that afternoon we realised how shocking her words were. My daughter had just lost her father, and I had lost my husband, these are not words we should have heard.  If the translator does not know the expression to use she should either not have her job or be taught the correct way to speak to people. She could have asked us to discuss that matter with the Funeral Company dealing with us on that day.


RE: MR JOHN ALBERT SCOTT – CARD NO 730024 789 001

With regard to the above policy, and the recent passing of my husband John Scott, I would like to make the following observations, based on the fact that the premise of the said policy is that it is aimed primarily at English speaking people and to make a very difficult and emotional time a little more bearable.

I accept that certain things have to be done in a certain way as far as cremation or burial is concerned due to the climatic conditions and customs of Spain, however, I am sure that with a little thought and consideration this dreadful experience could have been made easier if anyone had bothered to be involved with me, and my daughters, on a more personal and truthful level. We were treated in a manner, which was insensitive, and cold, impersonal and unprofessional which was extremely distressing for my children, my family, friends and me.

Firstly, after the immediate demise of my husband, Carlos from the Funeral Directors, came to the hospital and took over all the necessary paperwork, and at that time appeared to be very efficient at a time when I would definitely not have known what to do.

I informed Carlos that the cremation would probably be in this Country, as this was my husbands wish to stay here in Spain, but I needed to talk with my children who were coming over that evening.  I said that I would like a Church of England Service and he agreed this would be possible but then kept referring to a Priest, upon which I corrected him twice, he apologised and said ‘we are a Catholic Country’ which I totally understand, but not every one who lives here at the present time is Catholic and asked that our wishes be considered.  He also stated that they would be responsible for the flowers.

I had to make up my mind within 24 –48 hours as to whether there would be a cremation or burial, and whether it would take place in this Country or England, I understood this because it has to go before a judge, but I needed to discuss this with my children first. They were coming over that same evening, and as soon as they arrived I spoke with them, at 01.00. Fortunately for us because the following morning at 9.30a.m. I received a call for my decision.

I spoke with Carlos the next day and said it would be a cremation in this Country and that a Church of England vicar would be needed for the service.

I also asked him about the funeral procession starting from our house as is done in England and he said he would ask. He came back to us and said that the car could not go from the house because my husband would not be allowed to leave the crematorium, which we were upset about of course but understood that the regulations here are different. He did add that we could follow a car from where my husband was lying at rest to where the service would be held.  My daughters and I agreed to this because at least it would be a little way in keeping with the way we do things in England.

I also asked about cars to take people from the house to the crematorium, but I was told these were not supplied and not covered under the policy but the Funeral Directors could arrange taxi cabs, which I would have to pay for – I could arrange this myself but decided it was pointless because they would be white taxi cabs hardly appropriate, when in England it is usual to have only black funeral cars.

I arranged that on the Friday morning my daughters, close family and a friend could attend at the Crematorium to see my husband and say our personal goodbyes, which is usual in England and is a very private and emotional time when family can be together to share their grief and at the same time be with their departed loved one for the last time.

It was agreed we could do this – but I was not warned of the horror that would follow.

When we arrived at the crematorium we were taken in through the rear entrance, down a long corridor, where we passed someone else laying in a coffin, a woman walking down the corridor with a cigarette, past a room which said ‘silent’ on the door with staff behind it shouting and laughing very loudly. The Gentleman from the Funeral Directors indicated a set of double doors through which we could go to see my husband and say our last goodbyes. The doors appeared to lead into a service room of some sort. As a consequence of this one of my daughters offered to go in first to see how my husband, and her father had been laid out for people to see.

She came out of the room in total shock. My husband had been placed in an embalming room with all the paraphernalia associated with that task including a second table prepared for another embalming. The coffin looked as if it had been thrown across the table, it was not even straight and appeared to have been pushed there, and with the attitude of ‘that will be O.K.’ we are all absolutely shocked and horrified. An embalming room is not a place that most people would ever see in their lives, and to be faced with one at such an emotional time is absolutely unforgivable, cruel and downright unprofessional.

When querying this we were told we were lucky! It could have been in the corridor that we had just walked down. Lucky is not a word I would envisage a Funeral Director ever using to a bereaved family, and to be ‘lucky’ for us to say our last farewells in an embalming room is inappropriate, inconceivable and totally, totally wrong! We were told we could have my husband moved into the corridor but I decided that this was not appropriate.

I find it incredible that a simple room with just four white walls could not be provided. We did not necessarily need the velvet curtains and cross we would have had in England, because obviously this room would be used for all denominations, but surely a tranquil and serene setting is not too much to ask, it could be achieved for less than 30 Euros and make would what is always a stressful and emotional time a little easier to bear.

After paying our respects to my husband we went outside and queried what the service would be like. Paco, who we determined was not a Funeral Director, but a driver, tried to be extremely helpful, but he was insensitive when he repeatedly said ‘the body could be here’, ‘the body could be moved to there’ etc. My 21 year old daughter did say to him he is not a body he is my father and as such he deserves some respect, however Paco continued saying ‘the body’.  He also went on to say that there would be no car as this was not allowed for cremations, only for burials and why we had been told this he did not understand – we said that we had been lied to, and one thing neither I, my husband or my daughters can tolerate is someone who lies.

Because we were upset he was very helpful and rung the office to find out why this had been said and also asked about the Service, to be told that a vicar would be called by the office that morning and that we could have his number but not ring him until the afternoon.  Very obviously the vicar had not been arranged either.  Paco, who after all is only a driver with the company, was extremely helpful and continued to be from then on.  If only we had had someone honest and open from the start.

We then all went home extremely upset by what we had seen that morning. We rung the vicar in the afternoon as instructed, but it was blatantly obvious he knew nothing about the service which was the following Monday. Fortunately he said he could do it, and we made all the necessary arrangements ourselves regarding the service.  We were informed that we could play two songs, which you normally do in England, but
we would have to operate and take our own machine for it. (This of course had to be operated by one of the family members who were there to attend my husband’s funeral and who were upset about my husbands passing).  We also could not have hymns because there is not a facility for this and no organ to be played, which is normal for our type of funeral. Again, I accept we live in Spain and things are done differently here, but inform people what happens, how it happens and when it happens. This is not the time or place for surprises. Furthermore your policies are sold to English speaking people on the understanding that at the time of their greatest distress everything will be taken care of and they need not worry about any of the details.

We had not heard anything about the flowers that should be supplied, consequently we arranged our own. On the Saturday afternoon I received a telephone call from Carlos apologising for the human error regarding the following of the car at the funeral, I did say that I could accept one error but not numerous errors. 

On the Sunday we were called by the Funeral Director of the company to see how the arrangements were going and whilst we were on the phone I mentioned the flowers and he then said ‘oh yes, I did notice there was no flowers mentioned’, and there would have been none if I had not mentioned it, I then arranged for the flowers I was entitled to, to have other family members names placed on them.

When we arrived for the funeral my daughters went in first to discover there were no flowers laid out, as promised – they were outside on a trolley and Paco had been told he could not wheel the flowers in; no explanation of this has been forthcoming. As a result my daughters had to go and collect the flowers, carry them in and arrange them around my husband’s and their father’s coffin. My daughters should not have had to arrange the flowers around the coffin. They were, and are, all deeply upset and distressed by their father’s death and this was one task too many, in a catalogue of very serious and disturbing events.

The service took place and went very well thanks to the vicar. I feel that if I had not arranged for the vicar to carry out the service they would have brought in any Spanish man or Priest and just done anything to get it over and done with.  Although I am sure the Church of England service could have been arranged considerably better if my initial request had been listened to and carried out. There are a great many English people living in Spain and paying for your policies and they should be catered for in a caring and personal manner.

What would have happened if we had been Muslim or another religion would we have been treated in exactly the same manner?  Being part of Europe surely everyone should be treated in a much more appropriate and professional way.

I cannot believe that a civilised country such as Spain, conducts itself in such a poor way, however if that is so, I would suggest that you tell people when you sell them your policies, or alternatively ensure that the Funeral Directors you use are trained professionals, who do not lie, who know that when a family pays their last respects it is not in a corridor or an embalming room, that the family are not at the service to act as Disc Jockeys or florists, but to grieve for their loved one with the least possible stress or trauma. The service you offered my departed husband was second-class, inhume and crass and as such you should be truly ashamed of your Company, their ethics and lack of morals. Whatever religion a person has they have the right to be treated with dignity and compassion, two words perhaps you may like to look up in the dictionary and pass on to your staff,  who lack training, professionalism and compassion.

Your Company is a disgrace to what is already a dubious profession, I use the word profession loosely, however, I fail to understand why you should try to be the lowest form of this ‘profession’ because it must have taken considerable effort to achieve such appalling standards.

Then to top it all – I had spoken over the weekend with Elsie Schneider and a friend of hers to explain the situation and how upset we all were, and also one of my daughters spoke with them, it must have been for about an hour between us.  Also when we had been told we were not entitled to cars from the house my other daughter rung and spoke with her about that to see if we were entitled to them.

At the end or beginning of this week I rung her again to ask if my card should be changed and gave my name, as it had my husbands name on it and she said “why are you divorced or separated”, I then had to tell her “no he is dead”, and she then realised who I was and apologised as she said “she was writing up a report and also going to write and ask me what my NIE number was”.  This definitely upset me as I had been happily married for 36 years.  Once again how insensitive.

I know you probably deal with many people but please get it right.  Who was helping whom?  You certainly didn’t help my children or me very much.

Apart from an apology I would like to know if I am entitled to any compensation for the stress your company has caused me and my family, and tell me, I just received a receipt from my bank to say that you had taken the money for our Medical side of things for both my husband and I from the 1st July until the end of October, he died on the 3rd July is this still correct as we were only 3 days into this quarter when he died.

As you can see from everything I have written in this letter, the majority of the funeral plans and arrangements were made by my children and I, who at this time should be grieving and not having to deal with all of these issues.  This is why myself and my husband took out this policy to help our children to deal with their loss by taking some of the stress out of the situation and unfortunately you did the total opposite and made it 100 times worse.

Quite a few of the people who attended the service were absolutely disgusted that the coffin was wheeled out before they had left, and in many cases it took several days for them to get over the shock of this, as they were also English people and expected much better for their friend.  I am very concerned that other religions will definitely not be catered for in this Country.  What if someone died here who were Muslim or many other religions?  I dread to think

As you can see I am extremely upset by this and have already told my children that I would like to be taken back to England when it is my time. 

Some sort of explanation I feel is in order.  I do not think an animal would be treated in this way in England.  My husband certainly deserved a lot better than this and worked hard all his life to get it.

I would also like to inform you that I am going to publish these details in as many articles as possible to inform the ex-pat community of the things that they will have to deal with even if they have a policy. 

I am sorry but I do not feel that faithfully or sincerely is warranted at the bottom of this letter.

Mrs. Shirley Scott wife of Mr. John Albert Scott (A man who deserved better)

 

Written by: Mrs. Shirley Scott

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Comments:

amanda said:
09 August 2010 @ 11:20

oh by the way , I would sue the company, it will take a time but I am sure you will get your justice.
tht will teach them a lesson.



amanda said:
09 August 2010 @ 11:17

Hi, My condolences go to you and your family, however i am not surprised at the treatment you recieved, as i have lived here for over 10yrs now and they definetly do have a "thing " about foreigners here, i have some spanish friends whom are very nice people, but the majority attitude is "it doesnt matter, they are foreigners"
My friends husband got diagnosed with a tumour and back and forwards to hospitals all the time, basically we didnt know if it was cancer , and after about 1 month they decided on doing a blood test only because my friend requested it!
their lawyer has put them in touch with another Dr after 3mnths, and now he had a PET scan, surgery, and frotunaelty it was just a cyst , but if it was cancer he could have been dead. they do have private healthcare as well.

how disgusting the treatment is here, and now my friend , they pay enormous taxes here, and now they are leaving , and moving to france where it is civilised and not 50 years behind. i think the barbaric, medieval sport of bull fighting, says alot, they are 50 yrs behind trying to act like a civilised nation.

If i was you i would go back to england where at least you will get some respect, and treated correctly.
No wonder alot of foreigners have left Spain, Spain in crisis? its their own doing.



myfathersdaughter said:
26 April 2010 @ 00:23

I am truly sorry for your loss and distress. I travelled to Spain a few weeks ago prepared to repatriate my father by motor home to the UK. Unfortunately he passed away before this could happen. The hospital Dr's & staff were amazing and tried their very best to communicate with an ignorant non spanish speaking brit such as myself. My father loved Spain and had lived there for over 10 years. The repatriation was purely on the basis of his family being in the UK, his heart & home firmly being in his beloved Spain. It was in no way due to our lack of appreciation of the care & treatment he received. We felt it was important to make this fact known to the people who had been caring for him which was received with graceful thanks.

My father passed away quite unexpectedly and I agree it is a culture shock when dealing with the removal of the body from the ward to the mortuary, being met by the funeral co-ordinators and the lengthy paperwork, endless decisions and numerous questions at a time when you are dealing with the loss of a loved one. I alone was left with this task as his next of kin. I too was pressed to make decisions quickly and explained that I needed time for my family to arrive for the funeral. By communicating this as politely and as positively as I could it was agreed we could have the funeral 3 days later. The body (yes, the translations are very literal but as I don't speak Spanish at least I understood the meaning of what was said) was then immediately taken to the Tanatorio and placed in a Sala Velatorio. This was a beautiful room with viewing window. My father was laid out here until the actual cremation. It would be usual tradition in Spain for a relative to remain with the body at all times and although we were unable to do this as there were so many things to organise it was a wonderfully peaceful haven amongst the chaos of distress. More formalities followed and we discovered as an agnostic that there would be no service. The body would be available in an ante-room and then taken straight for committal into the cremator. We were shown a viewing room for the committal which was for close family to witness the process.
I explained to the staff at the Tanatorio that we would like a place to hold a service of kinds and we were told no such rooms were available. This was not expected but Spain is a Catholic country (I myself am a Catholic) and the facilities are not as widely available for cremations and it is expected that if there is no religious service then no service of any kind is wanted. The staff then took us outside to the gardens and stood with us under a trellised archway by a fountain, then the gentleman gestured to me and said "Here?". And that is where we held our service, outside in the sunshine.
On the day we said our goodbyes in the ante-room. My brother, mother and I led our children behind the car we asked for. We were all dressed in our English black traditional attire. As a family we pride ourselves in our family traditions, which include the male members of the family acting as bearers for the coffin, however my sister in law expressed a desire to take on this role so I joined her at the front of the coffin as we proudly carried my father to the prepared 'trolley' which had been covered especially for the occasion by the staff. I took my laptop computer and played the music over speakers from my fathers computer, using his garden extension lead for power. My brother gave a speech and we each placed a single white rose on the coffin, which was my fathers wish. His final wish was that we would join him in a farewell drink and as we were miles from an English tavern we took the champagne to him and joined in a last toast. We played his favourite Spanish song as we stood around the coffin toasting a man who had taught us tolerance, respect, & perseverance. I feel we were able to do things like this because we were English and we explained it to the fascinated staff as "English tradition". We ushered the coffin to the crematorium and my brother and I witnessed the committal of my father on his final journey. This, I know from experience was far better than can be expected in the UK.

The staff of the Tanatorio watched our service, they cried with us, took photographs for us and asked if they could use our funeral service as an exemplar for the future. Maybe it is not about telling people how you want things or how things are done in England. An open mind on both sides to the possibles can make the experience one that both cultures can build upon.

I know that in the depths of grief & loss the organising involved in the above may seem unimaginable. However, my father told me he wanted me to smile at his funeral. Smile for the life he lived and the love he shared. Thankfully in giving me the strength to do that he also gave me the strength to ensure his funeral was as wonderful as he was.

Sympathetic funerals can be achieved in Spain and I could point out that dismal funerals happen in the UK too. However this cannot unburden you from the pain you have endured. It would seem the issues you have experienced lie with insurance clauses & lack of communication, hopefully by sharing your experience you will help avoid this happening to others. May I suggest you hold a memorial service at some point to say a more fitting goodbye to your husband & I sincerely wish you & your family my deepest condolences.






Rob In Madrid said:
23 January 2010 @ 12:34

'when in England it is usual to have only black funeral cars.'

The problem is your NOT IN ENGLAND' you're in Spain and this is the problem of living in Europe. I experienced the same problem living in Germany. It was a difficult adjustment, I had to get used to that I wasn't back in Canada anymore. Move to France or Portugal and it will be no different.





lmlondon said:
02 August 2009 @ 13:06

what a shame, thats not a nice way to go.
i feel for the family, not a good experience to have to endure.



john2008 said:
06 May 2008 @ 23:47

Unfortunately this sort of funeral experience is quite common, if anyone requires advice to prevent this happening to them or someone they know, they can give me a call on 699664660. I am here to help (no fee)/ I am the only English funeral director operating on the costa del sol. I have many years of experience on what can and can not be done here in Spain. I believe my job is more of a vocation and if I can make things a little easier at a time of great sorrow then I have fulfilled my roll as a funeral director. Respect and dignity costs nothing.



Goldie said:
08 April 2008 @ 20:27

Does anyone know what the connection fees for
water and electric are in the costa blanca area



jaldridge said:
12 March 2008 @ 18:49

Update:

Hi Justin

An update for your readers I would like to pass on to them that I had a meeting with the Reverend David Sutch about having a viewing room or chapel of rest at the crematorium for relatives and friends if someone passes away in the Malaga area.

The Reverend took our concerns to the Town Hall in Malaga who we were told were responsible for the crematorium which covers Malaga. We have now been told by them that it is the Funeral Directors who decide how things are dealt with.

I would like to pass on to every reader that if you have particular wishes and would like your loved ones to make sure these are carried out that you must check with the Funeral Directors concerned that your wishes will in fact be carried out. If you are taking out any policy in Spain for Funeral or Medical help so that your loved ones do not suffer in any way PLEASE CHECK WHAT YOUR POLICY COVERS.

I have been informed that the Company that covered our policies did in fact give us what we were covered for and it was down to the selected companies to deal with us in the correct manner. So down to the Service providers and not the company we were in fact insured with.

Please take care when taking out your policies. I have had apologies yes but that does not right a wrong. I am afraid for my own sanity I must leave things there. Although my husband and family certainly deserved better. I am strongly considering cancelling mine but of course I do not wish to tempt fate as we know the minute you cancel something you are sure to need it.

If some one could come up with better options for me it would be greatly appreciated so that my family do not suffer again in the future if it were to happen to myself.

Please if any one requires any help or assistance and would like to speak with the appropriate Churches and Religious Orders I know they are listed in the Town Crier.
Anglican/C of E
Ark Christian Fellowship
Baptist Church
Evangelical
Jehovah's Witnesses
Methodist
Presbyterian
Roman Catholic
or Synagogues

Like many Brits we are not covered if under pensionable age and even that needs checking very carefully. This is why we took out a policy to cover both my husband and I. As we retired early we are no longer covered in England although we pay Tax there and we are not covered here because we do not pay into their Social System.

Just to add salt to the wound we had legal and above board Wills in this Country and I went to a qualified solicitor I have been waiting since July to have my property and my husbands car put into my name. I am still waiting. It is now February 2008. The car has depreciated of course in that time and the latest was that the Land Registry do not accept my husband's residence card as proof that he lived in this Country, they wanted to know where he lived!!!!! He never wanted to leave this Country and did everything legally to make sure he was accepted here and this is the mess we have had to put up with. The Will clearly stated that it all was left to me and if something happened to me then to our children.

I do wonder how many other people have had to put up with this problem also and if in the meantime something happened to them and nothing had been done. Sorry once again to worry people but under great times of stress there is no compassion or real help. Thank goodness for some real family and friends.

I would like to thank everyone who wrote and wished my family and I well at our time of need, and thank you to all our friends who have also helped. I would also like to thank Reverend David Sutch who took the time to come to my home and try and help at the Town Hall to sort things out at the Crematorium. I would also like to thank Reverend Peter Wolfenden who conducted the funeral for my husband with the tools that he had.

If I am allowed to say the Company who did the funeral were Funespana make sure it is not that company that you are offered at your time of need. Medical health cover also I think comes down to if they are willing to pay for what is needed.

If you would like updating on the Will side of things I will be happy to update you when it is finally concluded.

My wishes to all and thank you very much.
Regards
Shirley Scott and family



isaflat said:
10 August 2007 @ 10:52

My condolences sent to you, your children and friends.
I think some of the problem may have laid in the fact that we must embed ourselves in the culture we are living in.It´s our obligacion to understand and embrace differences as it´s us who decide to live in this country.The Spanish personality is much more direct and we can consider some aspects as rude when in their culture it´s just the opposite: they´re meaning openness and cordiality.Much of the stress you suffer could have been skipped by acknowledging and understanding this.In Spain mourning is treated in a more "raw" way.Just one generation ago they did the mourning at home, with the late present to see by everyone who could cry and pay their respects to the family in the intimacy of their home. In the Spanish language the formal and appropriate way to call the late person is "el cuerpo", which literal translation is "the body".An embalming room is also appropriate from the Spanish perspective. I think Spanish people already make an effort when speaking English (an effort most of us don´t make as we spend our lives here and barely say "hola" and "adios"). That effort should be taken as it is: a sign of respect and care.We can´t also ask for accuracy as it´s us who are in a Spanish speaking country.
In your letter you express:
"What would have happened if we had been Muslim or another religion would we have been treated in exactly the same manner? Being part of Europe surely everyone should be treated in a much more appropriate and professional way"
Muslims repratiate their relatives home so that they can be buried in Muslim soil.And yes: it´s almost imposible to ask for a muslim service or a muslim priest unless you already kinow one beforehand as Spain tradition is utterly catholic and 100% of their people follow that tradition in Funerals. Nevertheless you ask for consideration because you´re European.Muslim tradition is not European but I´m sure you don´t mean it does not deserve consideration too.
On the other hand Spain Funeral tradition does not cater for Religious differences as it´s religious homogeneity has been absolutely constant for the past 500 years.I´m sure everyone treated you as they´d have treated their own family. But that may include some behaviour that can be interpreted rude from the point of view of the English tradition.
In your letter you also make the following assertions:
"a Church of England Service"
"a Church of England vicar"
"from our house as is done in England"
"in keeping with the way we do things in England"
"our personal goodbyes, which is usual in England"
"when in England it is usual to have only black funeral cars"
"the velvet curtains and cross we would have had in England"
"Paco continued saying ‘the body’"
"two songs, which you normally do in England"
"which is normal for our type of funeral"
Before paying any policy at all I advise everyone to make perfectly sure that what they´re paying for is a replica of an English Funeral Service. I deduce from your experience that you were just paying for a funeral service in Spain, which was what you get. Good enough for Spanish people but shocking and stressing for you.
A better idea would have been to save money for a repatriation and then having the Service done in the UK.

p.d. In the UK we do have different medical treatments machines and specialities according to the different Trusts/Hospitals.The same happens here, which is why they have different tests taken in different Clinics/Hospitals.Besides that the unvelievably expensive tests as PET or SCANS are done with the same machines, and doctors here have a 10 year training that is highly valued back in our country.That´s why our embassy here actively engages in the recruiting of Spanish practitioners and nurses.



vindaloo26 said:
09 August 2007 @ 11:19

First and foremost, my condolences sent to you, your children friends etc. This treatment is truly disgusting and appalling. My friend and I will be moving to Spain in the near future, we will not be taking a policy out these cowboys. I rather be thrown in the sea and be free. I am ever so sorry that you had to go through this. I think the best thing to do is to get as many people to boycott this company as possible. Take care.


orda said:
01 August 2007 @ 10:18

That was a truly horrendous and sad story and I'd like to offer my sincerest condolences to the Scott family. I would like to know what replies Mrs Scott received, if any, from the people that did this to the family.


jawg said:
31 July 2007 @ 13:26

My deepest sympathy. This treatment was appalling.
Please let us all know what type of response you get from this company.



BILL AND KATHY said:
31 July 2007 @ 11:42

I also can't believe the way Mr and Mrs Scott were treated by the medical profession. Being sent here, there and everywhere when Mr Scott was so obviously very poorly. Surely the tests and treatment could have been done at one hospital. As Mrs Scott says 'at least he would have died in a more peaceful way'. It really is very worrying.


BILL AND KATHY said:
31 July 2007 @ 11:35

It upset me very much to read about the way everything was handled. It was absolutely disgusting. The company name needs to be banded about so no-one uses them again. They are so disrespectful. WHO ARE THEY? My deepest sympathy to all the family. May they not dwell on this too much but remember all the happy times they had as a family.

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