Going to a hospital for treatment is never a pleasant experience. Taking your child to hospital compounds that experience.
So, when I had to take my gung-ho kid – who’d barrelled on his bicycle straight into a wall – the last thing I expected was indifferent, uncaring treatment.
He had hit his head hard. There was a lot of blood. It had been cleaned and there was a plaster on the wound.
We dashed to the closest private hospital – Netcare’s Linksfield Clinic. I need to emphasise private hospital – the assumption being that the level of care is higher – although this may be entirely misguided.
Walking in, we are told to go to the triage room for assessment. Fair enough, you’d think. The nurse did not once ask the child what his name was but instead blasted a barrage of questions at me.
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Mind you, I have been to this hospital many times. In fact, my kid was born there, so one would assume the records are available, besides what the current injury is. Fine.
Answer questions. The nurse stands up, says to wait at reception. Are you not even going to look at the wound, I ask? He may not need to go in? What kind of assessment is this?
You must decide if you want to see a doctor, she says. But you have seen me, so you must pay. PAY!
I go to reception. Wait. Get called and get asked the same questions I have just answered. Grinding my teeth, I answer again, hand over my medical aid card so they can be PAID!
Signs everywhere telling me to PAY first! How about making sure my kid is OKAY FIRST? I’ll pay whatever the cost is!
I am sent through to the doctors. Wait. Nurse comes and asks me the same set of questions I’ve answered twice already. WTF?
Damn, okay. This will be scary and sore. Do they say anything to him about what they are doing? NO! They loom over his face with a huge syringe and plunge the needle straight into the wound. Again, WTF?
The kid screams. I hold him tight, tell him he’s brave and strong and it will be okay. Thirty seconds later, the doctor picks up a suture and starts stitching. I know the anaesthetic hasn’t kicked in yet. Kid screams again.
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Doctor tells him to calm down and I must hold him. WTF? Who are these people? Kid is now hysterical. They say he must take something to calm down. WTF? They actually knock him out. I’m seething. I want to lash out.
What kind of treatment is this? How do you work with children like this?
I am angry. Money above care, and that care was absolutely appalling.