French Die in Heat Wave Texans Call ‘Summer’

France Says Heat Toll May Be 10,000

Chirac, speaking publicly about the heat wave for the first time, said victims “died alone in their homes”.

The heat wave, which saw temperatures go as high as 104 in France in the first two weeks of August, caused morgues and funeral homes to overflow with bodies, overwhelmed hospitals and prompted painful soul-searching about France’s attitudes about the elderly.

Some critics accused families of abandoning elderly relatives alone at home while they took August vacations. Health workers blamed understaffing and underfunding at hospitals and retirement homes. Many accused the government of doing too little, too late.

France’s medical system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. But some health workers said it fell short in August because of a law which has restricted France’s working week to 35 hours, which has led to staff shortages, and because hospital and retirement home workers were on holiday.

Wow, where to start.
First off, I’m sympathetic that many people died in a heat wave. They were, for the most part, elderly folks. For a variety of reasons old folks have more problems with temperature extremes.

I am exceedingly unsympathetic to the idea that Hospitals have to be understaffed because the Govt. capped the work week at 35 hours. I have two things to say to that: conscience and work ethic. It matters not that the government capped the work week, as the number of hours in a week didn’t change. If there’s a crisis, you do the right thing, then you change the system later.

Reading the story fills me with amazement. I wrote out and deleted a little rant about how this is all because of socialism, and I think that’s certainly a part of it. However, 104 is hot, but it’s not THAT hot, and anyone who can perspire and has some airflow over them should be able to cope. (Yes, I know there are people who cannot sweat, but they already have AC). (And, I’m not talking about building a railroad through Burma, we’re talking about sitting in a room with a fan). Drink water, don’t do strenuous things, and gripe about the heat. That’s how to survive.

Fort Worth and Dallas both have ‘cooling centers’ where those at risk can go / be dropped off for those times when it really gets hot and humid. I’d have to think France has them, so why weren’t they more successful?

I’m betting on two things out of this: a huge tax-funded addition to their government, which will then either go on strike, go on vacation for the hot months, or not be staffed because of a 35 hour work week.

Anyone want to bet otherwise?


  1. Thousands dying from heat…in this era…unbelievable. And your bet is safe.

  2. I am very curious about your thoughts on the medical systems here and in Europe. Pros and cons of both.