Attending the annual World Medical Forum in the Swiss Alps, Dr Varadkar and his chief finance officer, Paschal Donohoe, host a reception for potential investors and other guests.
Bill Gates: So, Dr Varadkar, I’ve heard a lot about your hospital – it’s quite famous in America. You’re doing some real cutting edge stuff there, I believe?
Varadkar: Yes, cutting international investors’ tax bills, especially. But our approach is all based on traditional medicine. Your know yourself (he winks): An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Professor Emmanuel Macron (from the Sorbonne University Hospital in Paris): Ah, but apples are supposed to keep you – ’ow you say in English? – “regular”, Docteur. And there is nothing regular about what your hospital does in this respect. If I ’ave my way, the European Medical Union will enforce ’armonisation of this area soon, and zat will be the end of your special apple arrangements.
Donohoe: With all due wespect, Professor Macwon, I think you should concentwate on your own speciality: economic sclerosis. You have enough pwoblems there. In the meantime, we at Blueshirt General will continue to do what we consider best for our patients.
Professor Macron (growing angry): But what you are doing is a race to the bottom!
Donohoe: Exactly. Isn’t that the whole point of eating apples? To speed everything up down there?
Back in Dublin. At a meeting of the Blueshirt General ethics committee, Dr Harris outlines plans to remove the controversial Eighth Amendment from the hospital’s constitution.
Harris: So, basically I propose that we bring this to the board of management in May, which is in 12 weeks.
Simon Coveney: I’m opposed to 12 weeks.
Coveney: I need more time.
Harris: Jesus – you’ve had years to think about it already. We need to terminate this endless argument now.
Coveney: I’m also opposed to terminations, except in extreme cases.
Varadkar: Such as?
Coveney: Well I wouldn’t mind terminating your leadership, for example.
Varadkar: Yes, that’s what this is about really, isn’t it? You’re just appealing to the hospital’s traditional wing.
Coveney: Very appealing, according to the polls.
Varadkar: Remember the Hippocratic Oath, Dr Coveney?
Coveney: I do, Leo. And I also remember the Hypocritic one – you know, the one you used to make whenever the subject of the Eighth Amendment came up?
Harris: This thing could split the hospital, Simon.
Coveney: Oh well. We’re medics. We can always stitch it together again afterwards.
A corridor in the semi-autonomous Left Wing, later. Dr Varadkar meets the new head of the so-called Shinners (and other leg injuries) Unit: Dr Mary Lou McDonald.
Varadkar: Ah, Mary Lou. Congratulations on your promotion. I’m sure you’ll be a big improvement on that beardy guy who used to run this area. What was his name? Gerry-Atric or something?
McDonald: Gerry Adams, as you well know. A highly respected physician who will still play a valued role in retirement. I’m sure I’ll be consulting him about my patients for many years to come.
Varadkar: Yes, well, by all accounts, he helped turn many of them into patients in the first place. He must know a lot of stuff the rest of us don’t, all right. (Noticing a familiar face in a nearby bed) That’s the other Gerry, isn’t it? What’s wrong with him?
McDonald: He had a clamp removed, without anaesthetic.
Varadkar: Gosh. How did that happen?
McDonald: I’m afraid I can’t comment.
Varadkar (pointing to female patient): And what about her? She looks like her nose is badly out of joint.
McDonald: It is. She was suspended by the ard comhairle.
Varadkar: That sounds painful.
McDonald: She’ll get over it.
Varadkar (noticing the approach of another doctor): Who’s this guy? Haven’t seen him before.
McDonald: This is Philippe, who’s just moved here from Paris. Say hello to Dr Varadkar, Philippe – it’s because of him that we have such a crap medical system here, not like yours in France.
Varadkar (shaking hands): Enchanté, Philippe. Sorry about the rugby, eh?
Philippe: I still don’t know ’ow we lost zat game. (He hands McDonald a file). This patient needs a head injury assessment.
McDonald: Another one? (she reads file) But it says here he was knee-capped.
Philippe: Yes, maybe. But I recommend a head injury assessment just to be on the safe side.
Varadkar (leaning in to McDonald and winking): I’ve heard they do this a lot in France. I’ll leave you both to it. Good luck.