A heartfelt letter to all medical practitioners

2017-10-12 06:00

IT all began with a consistent fever, continuous headaches, dehydration and thereafter, having received a referral letter which indicated that my sister was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, she needed to be admitted immediately to a hospital.
Viral encephalitis sounded like a rather fancy word for what appeared to me as a mild case of the flu. Only upon looking it up on Google, did I realise the severity of this virus.
My research had revealed that encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue and the most common cause is viral infections.

After sharing the alarming definition of this medical lingo with my mom, with a feeble 13-year-old who wished to be at school writing her exams rather than being quarantined, we raced to the nearest private hospital without further delay.

The closest in the vicinity of Stanger is Alberlito Hospital.
We had spent at least half an hour in the reception area sorting out the admission and were requested to report to the paed ward.

We found it a little strange that they were admitting a 13-year-old there, however, we were desperate for help and would receive it with open arms and unending appreciation at this stage.

Sadly, help was far from our reach. There had been some miscommunication between the person who had made a booking for the bed and many important details were left out, which of course, we totally understood; people make mistakes unknowingly all the time. However, we found the manner in which the issue was handled very offensive.

The sister on duty was ranting to her staff in the paediatric reception area while we were trying to comfort a sick child.
“I don’t know who did this booking. I cannot close off a five-bed ward for one child. I cannot host a child who is over 12 years of age in here,” she yelled.
She kept ranting and making a spectacle of us while we were watching her from behind the glass door. It was very disheartening to watch.
We were eventually told that we should find another hospital after more than two hours of trying to seek medical attention, which we successfully did.

This is what made me want to share my heartfelt thoughts with medics.

DEAR MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS,

I want to let you guys know that most of us don’t possess the wealth of knowledge in the medical field that you have, which is why we turn to you in cases of emergency. We look up to you as our saving grace to help and save our ill moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends and extended family the best you can. If we could, maybe we would attempt this by ourselves, but we can’t, which is why we come to you.

Please understand that we are bringing you patients that we love and care for, if we didn’t feel this way, we surely wouldn’t be there with them.
Respect that relationship. Have some compassion. I’m aware that you go through hundreds of sick patients and deaths in a day and you’re so used to it, but please understand, we’re not. We come to you with hope. Please don’t take away whatever little faith we’re holding onto by giving us grief with your bad attitude.
You’re supposed to be passionate about what you do. It’s not just a job, you’re saving lives of the people we love and helping them overcome their illness which is a wonderful thing indeed.

Take into consideration the status of our country’s economy, as medics, you know first-hand how exorbitant the price of medical aids and healthcare treatment is. You also know how inefficient most public hospitals are, which is why many of us make great sacrifices to cough up the money and ensure we have contributed towards a medical insurance fund every month.

We know that you have protocols to follow, and we respect that, ut all I ask is, have a little compassion, be more professional and take things into consideration. |
We realise you may not want to deal with our problems, but you are the only ones we can turn to when hope seems to be fading. I think it’s important you fix your attitudes and understand that we are grieving when we come to you.
All we seek is your help and understanding. Please bear with us and attempt handling situations in a sympathetic manner rather than being rude or boastful, in the sense that you use your authority to belittle us.
At the end of the day, we’re just ordinary people, hoping that people of your calibre can take us closer to receiving what we will call “our miracle”.

SELINA CHETTY

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