Former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy, who is currently touring Europe with THE NEAL MORSE BAND, has slammed the staff at the Whittington Hospital in London, England for allegedly refusing to see him quickly enough so that he could make it in time to the Islington Assembly Hall, where the group is scheduled to perform tonight.
In a post on his Facebook page, Portnoy wrote: “A very special NO THANKS to the staff at the Whittington Hospital for NOT seeing me regardless of telling them that there is an audience waiting for our show to begin… I finally left withOUT seeing a doctor in order to make tonight’s show… I have no idea how the hell I’m going to make it through this show…I can’t even stand up or lift my arms… : (”
After one person responded to Portnoy‘s Facebook post by saying, “Not to be rude, but if someone was dying, I’d hope they didn’t move you to the front of the line just to get you to a show. Very narcissistic thinking here,” Portnoy replied: “Keep ’em coming! Can’t wait for everyone to see what an idiot you are before I ban you.”
A Portnoy fan who works at the Whittington Hospital later also responded to Mike‘s posting. He wrote: I’m a doctor that works at the Whittington Hospital in London. I wasn’t working in the [Accident & Emergency] department tonight, however. I am sorry to hear of your plight.
“As much as I’d jump at the opportunity to help you if I actually was on call tonight, please try to understand. Us healthcare professionals don’t want anyone to wait or suffer at all. However, we encounter life-threatening conditions every hour, sometimes every minute, that stop us from seeing others that may be slightly less unwell, as quickly as we’d like.
“The NHS is under-financed, understaffed, overworked. We do have to economise our resources.
“With all the respect I have for you, it hurts when one of my idols insults an organisation I work very hard for.
“Waiting sucks, I know, but dying patients suck even more.
“I sincerely hope you feel better and that the show goes well tonight. Gutted to be missing out due to a prior engagement. Rock on, though. [I] love the new Neal Morse album.”
Portnoy apologized to fans earlier in the day for missing this evening’s VIP meet-and-greet. He explained: “I’m extremely sick and on my way to the hospital right now… Hopefully we can still pull off tonight’s show without a hitch.”
According to the National Health Service (NHS) web site, the Whittington Hospital is part of Whittington Health, which provides general hospital and community services to 500,000 people living in Islington and Haringey as well as other London boroughs, including Barnet, Enfield and Camden.
The National Health Service is a completely public “socialized medicine” system.
The Business Insider reported in January 2015 that “NHS just released its most recent stats on accident and emergency room waiting times. The headline number is that 84% of patients are seen within four hours. In the UK, this is regarded as a huge failure — the standard the NHS is supposed to meet is 95% of patients in four hours.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI). Portnoy later revealed that he tried to rejoin DREAM THEATER, only to be rebuffed.