Last month I went back to South Africa to visit my dad, who had just come out of hospital after having had a cancerous growth from his chest surgically removed.
He had the procedure done at a previously ‘White’ government hospital, nowadays open to all and ‘free’ for pensioners like him.
The successful surgery was done by a charming Ugandan doctor, whom I jokingly asked, “Why did you leave your beautiful country?”
To which he replied, “My President is very corrupt and he is stealing!”
I simply smiled!
One night at home, my dad collapsed from dehydration and on the instructions of the local doctor we rushed him to the closest hospital that had a physician on call. It turned out to be a Private Hospital and before they could even admit him, we were requested to deposit R10 000.00
And then the fun and games began…all kinds of unnecessary tests were initiated and various specialists came along, each doing his own thing and adding to the bill/costs. Agreed, this is a scam used to milk persons on medical aid, but when a pensioner does not have a medical scheme to back him up, it reeks of being robbery.
What I witnessed was, a bunch of hungry hyenas devouring a sick man in a dire physical state but more so the devious means they employed in going about their business.
I was shocked to say the least!
After forcefully extricating him from that hospital, and paying an exorbitant fee for only a day’s stay, I drove him to the government hospital, where he had the operation in the first place, as his condition had stabilized and he was able to undertake the long journey.
The government hospital was very busy indeed, but I was pleased to note that South Africans of all colours were being treated by a rainbow crew of doctors and nurses and the general facilities and healthcare was comparable to anything I have experienced in my overseas travels.
And most of all, the doctors and nurses sincerely cared about my dad’s wellbeing, seeing him as a human being and not a body to milk financially. What a world of difference when compared to the private hospital I had come from.
Why has South Africa experienced a phenomenal growth in private hospitals since 1994 with increases of 300% and beyond in medical fees instead of an upgrade of existing government hospitals?
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