It was a morning just like any other in our tightly packed hostel room. The sun was shining through our thick pane windows, various ringing of alarm clocks traveled swiftly intertwined with the chilly breeze of the London morning air. I opened my eyes to see what today’s weather had in store for me, and that was when I was meet with an unfortunate start of the day. One of my eyes wouldn’t open. I put my hand up to my eye to pry it open, and knew that this day was meant for disaster.

I ran to the sink and stared in fear as I saw one of my eyes swollen shut. As I flushed it with water over and over, I knew that it was time to resort to the famous free health care Britain has in place. I went up to my professor, and told him the news. We found a clinic near by, and I travelled there with only seeing out of one eye!

Knowing that the health care was available to anyone because it is publically funded, walking into a British clinic was much like walking into a clinic at home. Beige white walls, hand sanitizer on the walls, and posters that are advertising screenings and what not, I then went to the receptionist and he could tell I had no idea what I was doing. Do I just walk up to him and demand my free health care? Do I tell him what my symptoms are? Do I tell him I’m from America and I usually only get care if I fan myself with money and an insurance card? No, my American accent and one-eyed stare probably got that whole “foreigner/ American” vibe across. While he was getting the paperwork for me to fill out, I noticed that there was a sign that said what they cover, and what they don’t. Thankfully, my eye fit under the “we can do that” column.

hospital visit

These were the reasons people could receive free healthcare. I was so happy I fit the bill.


I turned in the paper work that asked my name and my symptoms, and sat in the lobby waiting with the rest of the patients.

I was called back, and went straight to the doctor, no nurse or anything! It felt a bit premature. All he knew about me was what the paper work and I told him it was possible pink eye. He did about a 5-minute exam, and determined it was indeed pink eye, only he said the medical name for it. He gave me a prescription for antibiotics told me to go to Boots, which is like a British version of Walgreens, and fill my prescription.

On the back of the prescription you could see all the qualifications someone needed to receive free prescriptions, I laughed as I thought of what would happen if America did the same thing. It would be extremely controversial! But over here, everyone pretty much agrees that free health care should be a right, what should be covered by the taxpayer’s money is a little different!

 —Hannah Moczynski