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Speaking the Lingo

March 15, 1998

Regarding "A Sick World" by Joseph S. Rychetnik (Letters, Feb. 22): I certainly commiserate with Rychetnik's bad fortune of getting sick in Europe. I am sure he was taken care of by the medical staff in Avignon, France, in a proper manner.

But why does he expect everybody to speak English when in France or Italy? It is the height of arrogance. How many hospitals can I enter here in the U.S. and expect French to be spoken by everybody in sight? I can tell you with certainty that more French people speak English than Americans speak French.

Rychetnik should have prepared himself better for his trip to Europe by learning a few phrases in French or Italian or have traveled with an escorted group. Better yet, he should have stayed home. This "ugly American" arrogance is not needed in Europe or elsewhere.

HERMAN WURZ

Venice

Regarding Rychetnik's letter: There is an answer. The nonprofit International Assn. of Medical Assistance to Travelers provides members with a book of English-speaking doctors in major cities of the world. It's free and updated regularly; membership is also free. Call (716) 754-4883 or write IAMAT at 417 Center St., Lewiston, NY 14092.

MARIAN PAYNE

Long Beach

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