“Your wine. Red or white?” the French hospital orderly asked. The foreign patient, wired up, tubed up, doped up, was confused. “You may have two dekalitres,” the no nonsense orderly continued.
It was almost too much for the Serb patient in the Perigueux hospital. A day earlier, in the Dordogne town of Sarlat (photo), he had suffered a heart attack. Hurried phone calls were made and, five minutes later, not one but two ambulances were at his door.
He was whisked to the local hospital. They  checked him and decided to send him to Perigueux, eighty eight kilometres or so to the North West. The helicopter flew him there and he was operated on immediately, a life saved.
Not it was lunch time of the following day. Lunch was even something of a surprise but then the offer of wine almost led to another heart attack, a relieved Milos told me some four years later as his Irish wife recalled with gratitude the help given by her new French neighbours as this was just their second year or so in the area.
Not surprisingly, Milos, a former Guinness employee, was full of praise for the French health service. There was one error though: he got a bill for nine hundred euro for the copter. He paid it but was then told the bill should never have been sent to him and got a full refund. Mary Harney take note: an efficient service will do, we’ll pass on the wine.
The decilitre, one tenth of a litre, is used as a wine measurement in some European countries and, personally, I have come across it in Austria.