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A Different Approach To Medicine

This isn't breaking news, but I'm willing to bet it will comeas news to many, if not most Americans.

When there is a serious car accident or other emergency in France, victims are not rushed immediately to a hospital emergency room.

French medical practice and policy is to send a doctor or doctors to the scene, and give emergency treatment there.

This is directly counter to what is generally done in the United States. Here, an emergency vehicle -- an ambulance or a helicopter -- is dispatched quickly.

Trained emergency care personnel -- sometimes including doctors -- are aboard. , the goal is to move the victim or victims as quickly as possible, under most circumstances, to an emergency room.

The thinking in this country is: there is more, better help, under better conditions at a hospital, and more can be gotten there more quickly, using this system.

American doctors consider the French system out of date and dangerous.

This comes to mind because of a recent reporting trip your reporter made to France.

For many months, CBS News has conducted its own, independent,
exhaustive investigation into history's most notorious car crash: the one that killed Princess Diana and two other people in Paris last year.

CBS has turned up a lot of new information, much of it at variance with so called official stories -- and certainly at variance with much of the rumor-mill.

You'll be hearing results of the investigation today and tonight here on CBS radio, television and on

Whether or not you are interested or not in the investigation as a whole or the new information CBS News has uncovered about the death of the princess, you may be interested in this business of the difference between French and American medical experts on treating emergency case victims.

In this particular case, it is key, since when Princess Diana was injured, she was not taken immediately to any hospital.

A french doctor was dispatched to the scene. The Princess did not arrive at any hospital until at least one hour and forty-one minutes after the initial crash.

By anyone's estimate, that is a long while. And the questions raised by this go to the heart of whether Princess Diana received the best medical attention under the best circumstances -- and whether she might be alive today if the
French had a different system.

Reported by Dan Rather
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