One August morning….yes, the same August morning as the last article (Private Hospitals “Show me the money”?); Edward, suffering in excruciating pain; was turned away by the medical staff at the Emergency section of a Private Hospital. They did not show the slightest concern whatsoever for Edward’s severe and suffering condition. Why? It was because neither he, nor his cousin; could pay RM20,000 cash as deposit at 3.00am in the morning! The medical staff did not so much as look at him nor offer him some form of comfort so that he could get to General Hospital A which was 45 minutes away, to at least ease his pain a little bit.
If RM20,000 cash was flashed in front of these vultures… er… I mean medical staff; they would have sung a different tune and possibly thrown in a can-can show as part of the “package” (though it would be charged in the bill under “entertainment” even though the patient may not have requested for it).
Can you imagine what was going through Edward’s mind in one of his lowest hours?
Can you imagine the thoughts that went through his cousin’s mind who had just witnessed for himself that this Private Hospital treated people badly unless they flashed money?
Edward would have most likely thought he was not going to make it through that night, especially after the way he was treated by these “civilized people”, the medical representatives of this upmarket Private Hospital. They only cared for money and so unabashedly showed that this was the case.
His haplessness … I don’t know how else to describe it…
After a long drive, they arrived at General Hospital A’s Emergency reception. Edward’s cousin helped Edward to the Admission counter only to be told the hospital was full and could not accept him. The hospital staff at the Admission Counter advised them to try General Hospital B, as it was the nearest alternative. So, Edward’s cousin helped Edward get in the car as gently and carefully as possible. Then, they drove to General Hospital B which was about 25 minutes away.
General Hospital B was full, too. The Medical Officer asked Edward on the scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the most painful; what he thought his pain level was.
“9” he said.
The medical staff administered him with some pain killers to ease his pain. They told Edward’s cousin that due to Edward’s serious condition; Edward could wait at the Emergency room until the next available bed was available to admit him. All this took place at around 5.00am.
Edward’s cousin was asked to go home as he could not wait at the hospital due to the Covid-19 situation.
At 11.00am, Edward was found still waiting at The Emergency room as no beds were available yet.
His cousin managed to get one of the doctors in General Hospital A. This doctor managed to get Edward a bed, in a two bedded room.
Peter, Edward’s youngest brother; picked Edward up from General Hospital B and drove him back to General Hospital A. One of the medical staff there told Peter, “who you know can get you a room!”
Edward was medically attended to and had some relief from his sufferings. Peter was asked to go home as he was not allowed to wait at the hospital.
The next afternoon, which was Sunday; Peter received a phone call from Edward, telling Peter that the hospital had discharged him. Good news, though surprised that Edward was fit to go home after having suffered the day before.
Peter arrived at the hospital around 3.00pm. Edward asked Peter if he could get a wheelchair for him as he was too weak to walk. That shocked Peter. Edward was still in pain, most of his energy was drained by it. Edward’s health had deteriorated drastically over the last 3 days.
At home, Edward’s wife and daughter attended to him. They saw to all his needs as he still had all the pain in him.
Edward, the tough guy, the jovial guy, the guy always telling jokes and sending jokes on social media; was reduced to near helplessness.
The following night, (Monday); Edward had serious breathing difficulties. An ambulance was called and Edward was sent back to General Hospital A. Peter drove Edward’s wife to the hospital. Edward was connected to an oxygen machine and some other machines. He was staring at the wall, blankly.
By Wednesday noon, Edward seemed to already be in shock due to the unbearable pain. He passed away at 6.45pm. The hospital said he died of sepsis in his pancreas.
…Based on a true story.
What has happened to mankind?
What has happened to hospitals, doctors and all medical staff? Have they lost the will to save lives? Have they forgotten that their very existence as medical staff is to exactly that? To save lives. Have they lost their all sense of humanity?
Did these who are doctors and specialists join this profession because there is money to be made and glam – their road to get rich/wealthy quickly? Are these professions a vehicle to do just that? Are people reduced to being a means, a tool, a number, part of the statistics? Has it come to a point where trying to save lives is, “If can, can; otherwise “too bad. Next!” Have they given their very best to each person that comes under their care? Is it a slaughter house? Nearly no where can we see human kindness.
It is absolutely pointless and absurd to talk about going “vegan, or use electric vehicles to cut exhaust emissions, or reduce the reliance on the use of plastics” in order to green the earth and thus making the world a healthier place to live so that we can live longer lives; when the very fabric of life, that is “LIVING”, is on a “couldn’t care a less” basis. Or so it seems.
Most people place their complete trust on doctors and hospitals as they have no other choice but to do so, as they are forced to believe that these doctors and hospitals know what they are doing.
Every time these hospitals sent Edward home, his family was led to believe that Edward’s health condition was improving. It was not. Inserting a sten in his bile duct would usually require a stay of at least a day in hospital for observation but he was sent home immediately after the procedure.
Edward went to the private hospital based on the early diagnosis of his general practitioner doctor that he had jaundice. The test reports showed that he had stones in his gall bladder, an operating procedure that was fairly minor. In slightly under three weeks, this healthy person by the name of Edward, was reduced to death.
Hospitals do not seem to be communicating with each other like the Private Hospital did not communicate with General Hospital A. General Hospital A, if they wanted to reserve all beds for Covid-19 patients only; should have given a written recommendation for Edward to be transferred to another private hospital.
The whole episode was that Edward was reduced to just being a mere number, just another one, etc.
REFLECTION: I have to admit that I struggled to write this article. It brought out the anger, frustration, sadness – I cried the tears that came from within, in my heart.
How can people be so heartless to a human being in need?
And these people are in the medical profession? To save lives?
I will not allow myself to fall into this trap of heartlessness. I do not want to judge beyond this. What does not lifts me up, drags me down.
I will continue to write about the goodness in life, believing in that goodness and hopefully, to inspire others. I want to make a dent in this beautiful world, a dent in this country, a dent in my little space with this belief and hope.
A mention for the exceptional few in the medical profession who are in for the right reasons – to save lives. These are men and women we honor as they have chosen to serve and no be served. If you look around you, they probably would be nearby. They know their decision, their path they took when they decided to actually help people in to this would not see them whizz by in flashy vehicles or dine in fancy restaurants or live in demi-palaces. It is ok with them. They are happiest being there for others.
We can only hope that those serving in the medical profession go into “re-boot” mode.
This essay in in hope that all those seeking medical advice and help will be treated with dignity.