Insensitive public hospital doctors

NOTWITHSTANDING all the investigations being conducted by different government agencies relative to the Manila hostage drama that claimed the lives of eight innocent Hong Kong tourists and the hostage taker himself, there is one valuable lesson that can be learned from that unfortunate incident that all government officials should take to their hearts.

What we learned from that experience is that government officials should be sensitive enough to listen and understand the complaints as well as the situation not only of their subordinates but also of the people that they are dealing with in their offices.

As we all know, Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza decided to resort to that desperate measure after he felt that he was at the short end of the justice system because of the failure of the Office of the Ombudsman to immediately decide on his case.

The seeming apathy as well as arrogance being displayed by some top officials often happens in almost every office and bureau of the government, including of all places in public hospitals.

I regularly receive complaints from poor patients and their relatives on how they are being ignored or to some extent being mistreated by some hospital staff including their attending physicians.

I knew of a patient who was suffering from a mere loose bowel movement but died anyway after being ignored in a public hospital in Quezon city .

A few months back, a young teen-ager who was stabbed with an ice pick by a fellow teen-ager almost got killed when the staff of a public hospital in Manila where he was brought made him wait for more than seven hours before he received attention from attending physicians.

If not for the intervention of a friend who knew someone inside the hospital, the boy could already be dead by now due to internal bleeding caused by the stab wound.

The latest complaint I received came last week, when a mother whose son was suffering from a kidney malfunction was also made to wait and ignored by the staff and attending physicians at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

In between sobs, the poor mother narrated that she brought her son to the hospital after complaining of severe pains and after she noticed that his urine was compounded with blood.

After having to wait for more than three hours, she finally got a chance to see a doctor but she got the shock of her life when the attending physician merely sarcastically asked her some questions in the pretext of checking up her son.

She waited for several hours only to be given a cold shoulder treatment (pardon the pun) by the doctor and when she requested that her son be confined for treatment , what she got was a cold-blooded reply that only those who are about to die are allowed to be confined at the hospital.

Left with no option, the poor mother walked away carrying her untreated son on her weak shoulder.

I think the lessons we learned from Capt .Mendoza should be enough wake up call for these insensitive doctors from public hospitals to change their ways lest , God forbid the next bloody hostage taking will take place in an unlikely place like a public health institution.

Indeed it is so sad to be poor in this country.

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