Every weekday morning dozens of government vans, ambulances and battered sedans marked with the seals of towns across São Paulo State drop off their passengers at Santa Casa Hospital and others in the metropolitan area.
The drivers set out as early as 3 a.m. to transport residents of far-flung cities and towns who have waited months or sometimes years to see a specialist, have surgery or get a CT scan, services not available at their spare clinics back home.
On a recent day, Nilson Esteves, 32, traveled from rural Pedro de Toledo to pick up test results; he has been waiting three years to have a benign tumor the size of a tennis ball removed from his neck. Georgina Barbosa, a 70-year-old widow, came from Capivari after waiting three months to get treatment for bladder stones…Brazilians who can afford it pay for private care. (New York Times)