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Healthcare is Never Fair

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The public health service in this country of Trinidad and Tobago is deplorable. Most of these public health servants act like they are doing you a favour when you visit the health clinics. In some instances, more rare than the norm, you get top notch service and excellent care. However, that is like finding a grain of sand in a haystack. Almost impossible.

I had the wonderful experience of going to the hospital with my mother for her clinic day. She needed to have a minor surgical procedure on her leg.

The ordeal began when we arrived at the hospital at minutes to seven in the morning and lo! and behold, no parking. The entire area that was designated to persons who came to the hospital with their loved ones who needed to go to casualty or clinic was now been designated for staff only. Luckily, I was able to get a park in the small area opposite the staff parking zone thanks to the kind guard.

We went inside and my mother signed in the time we got there, which was seven o’clock and we then proceeded to waiting area where there were already several folks waiting for us to join them to scrub bench which is a term we use in Trinidad to mean to wait forever. And thus, the waiting began, and more persons arrived. We waited. The tick-tock of the clock was agonising.

Finally, around nine thirty, they came to call my mother, so I believed something was about to happen. Hope is one thing you should never entertain at these hospital clinics. All they did was take her vitals and sent her back with a gown and a cap that she would need wear for the surgery.

Time went on and we waited and waited. About an hour later they came back again and called her name and then she went with the nurse. A few minutes later she returns and says that they told her to go back upstairs to the waiting room because the doctors needed to perform surgery on a child.

And we continued the waiting game. All the while I’m getting more and more agitated because all you are seeing are doctors and nurses traipsing up and down the place and holding their heads high like proud peacocks; because I’m a doctor, you need me but you’ll have to wait for my advice.

When it was one thirty, I decided that I needed to go get something to eat because I was famished. The waiting now had become really ridiculous. So I went, got myself a sandwich and on my way back the guard stopped me to ask if I was staff because the area that I was returning to was off limits. I explained to her that I was in this building since seven o’clock, waiting with my mother to get her surgical procedure done.

As soon as returned to the waiting area and sat down to eat, a nurse hustles in and calls my mother’s name to go to the theatre. Not too long afterwards another lady, who was called to have her procedure done, returned to the waiting room. She was angry because they told her that they couldn’t do her procedure again because guess what? They, the doctors, were tired so they told her to make another appointment. She then went on to inform them that she was a member of staff to which they replied that she should have said something and they would have have given her the VIP treatment.

This made her more upset. She told them that she shouldn’t have to tell them that she’s staff in order to get attention; that they ought to be treating everyone fairly.

After her rantings and ravings, she and her family and friend left. I have to say, I truly empathised with her situation. Now I was all alone in the waiting room. Everyone else was already gone.

It is my firm belief that my mother only got the procedure done because I was with her. Thus, after arriving at the hospital at seven o’clock in the morning, we left at three o’clock in the afternoon. Do you think that’s right? Is that fair?

These people don’t care about a person’s time. They make you come early to sit and wait the entire day before you can receive some attention. Many elderly persons come to access the clinic and some if not most can’t come by themselves. Most times they are accompanied by their children or grandchildren. These medical personnel believe that you have time to return again to put out another day’s work of waiting.

And to top it off, my mother returns again the next week for them to check her bandages. Guess what? They made her sit and wait the entire day. They never called her and refused to give her her clinic card when she asked for it. Instead, they issue her a new one with a new date and tell her she has to return another day. These people are heartless criminals.

I honestly don’t know what to say about the public health care or rather all public service places. People lack compassion, are very selfish and think that they are doing you a favour when you go for a service.

Let’s see if the clinic can break their record when my mother returns for clinic again this upcoming week.