Not a “Litigation Nation”

Several times in the past couple of years, I have had experiences in Lithuania which indicate that liability insurance and litigation is not an issue here to the same degree that it is in the United States.

Dangerous stone steps — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up or down ancient, worn stone steps, not just in Lithuania but in Latvia, Estonia and Poland.  Most of these are in castles and medieval towers with hordes of tourists ascending and descending.  Entering the Žemaičių Restaurant in Vilnius also involves making your way down a worn stone stairwell without handrails.  In the US, the cost of liability insurance for such a set of stairs would put the restaurant out of business.  I think the food is worth the stairs so I take the risk.

Alcohol and water parks —  I was amazed to see a full bar in a pool at the Vichy Water Park.  I went to get a bottle of water since I couldn’t find a water fountain.  The bartender was mixing real cocktails and serving them to people sitting on stools in the pool.  I hope that they have some kind of limit on how many drinks one can order, because the risk of someone getting drunk and drowning in the pool seems pretty high.  Again, I’m talking some serious liability insurance expenses in the US for something like this.

Dispensing prescriptions — Last year, friends from Seattle delivered three month supplies of my thyroid medication.  However, there was a gap in delivery at the mid-point of my stay, so  local doctor wrote me a two-month prescription to tide me over.  When I went into the pharmacy to fill the prescription, the pharmacist gave me 75 tablets instead of 60 because the pills came in packets of 25.  A month ago, I was in Kaunas and needed allergy medication, which I had left in Vilnius.  I went into a pharmacy and asked for Zyrtec since it doesn’t require a prescription in the US.  It turns out that Zyrtec is a prescription-only medication here.  I explained that I was having a reaction from being around a dog so the pharmacist sold me a packet of 12 tablets.  Despite this liberality in dispensing medications, I should note that I’ve been told that one can’t buy rubbing alcohol without a prescription (and that the requirement is observed).


About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

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