My aunt is a senior nurse who lives overseas and she came here to visit an underfinanced hospital to see what she could do for them.
She first went to the wards and spent a while talking to the patients and to some of the families.
That was when she found out just how dire their circumstances were. Two parents had just exited the recovery ward, the mother in frantic tears while the father led her to the waiting room, clearly trying to stay strong for the both of them. She asked a nearby nurse what had happened, assuming the worst, and the nurse explained that the child had died in the process of ‘recovery’ after his surgery... because of an infection from the rust in the equipment used.
She was dumbstruck. Sure, she expected that the hospital would have lower standards than the strict, pristine rules they had in her own workplace but she could not believe what she heard from the nurse.
She had an appointment with the executive director soon after this incident so she sat outside his office, replaying the hideous image of this child being operated on and his consequent slow and totally unnecessary death. When she went into the office she could barely contain herself.
After a brief introduction of forced politeness, my usually well-contained aunt raised her voice and asked how the director could let the hospital continue to run in such shape. All the director could say was, ‘These things happen’.
He explained that the situation was this: either they help as many people as possible using whatever they have, get maybe a 60% success rate, or let 100% of them perish without using this ‘substandard equipment’.
My aunt was shaking as she explained this to my family. When she went back to her home, she rounded up her entire community and made the donation of three new equipment pieces which were vital to the hospital and very expensive to procure.
There are plenty of people who hear and see of the horrible things that happen every day and turn away because it is too much to handle. Having to witness this seems like someone is making them feel guilty for something that they had nothing to do with. The pleas from organisations for help are not to push you to act out of guilt. It is to open your eyes to the world and tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way.
This column was written by a STITCH
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