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Best Hospital at Which to Have a Myocardial Infarction 

California Pacific Medical Center

No reservation necessary -- just show up at the emergency room and say, "Chest pain"

The most satisfying way to arrive is by hooting ambulance. Any time is fine, of course, but if you want to really stress-test the staff try midnight on a Friday night. We chose New Year's Eve, and were only mildly annoyed when a bunch of medical workers went home early to celebrate the millennium, leaving us to endure a second angioplasty New Year's morning. But aside from that, we had few complaints. The staff basically -- well, they saved our life. Thanks. We suspect they would have done so even if we had not had great medical insurance! There were some irritating people, of course, like the phlebotomist who couldn't find our veins despite repeated stabbing, and the night nurses who vanished from call button range only minutes after a huge pizza was delivered. And of course there were some ugly moments with the catheter .... But, on the whole, the entire experience was worth $68,000, which included several shots of morphine and a turkey burger.

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