ASSORTED BS

hippocratic-oath

I once read a tweet that was asking if nurses had classes in rudeness before they graduated and I tried my possible best to not enter that conversation – careful not to let it get me worked up. But two days ago, while on my way to town, when I heard on radio an appalling account being given by a woman of how she lost her baby when she went in to the labour ward of the St. Gregory Catholic Hospital in Kasoa, every passing minute, as she gave detail after detail, I got angrier and angrier. This was what allegedly happened.

 

According to this lady, she was pregnant with her third child, which proved more difficult than the first two, so she moved to her Mom’s and continued her antenatal visits in the said hospital. Now according to her, throughout the pregnancy, with the regular visits, she never once saw a doctor. *pauses for a moment* Why?? Because apparently you only got to see the doctor if you were sick. *pauses again* Err, people help me out here. Is that how it is supposed to work? Are you not supposed to get thoroughly checked on every visit by your doctor to be sure everything is still alright? Wait, is the doctor some high class celebrity trying to avoid public eye or the paparazzi? You need some backstage pass to get to see him? Must you ‘FEEL’ sick first? I don’t get it?! What if you don’t necessarily feel sick but something is wrong anyway? How will early detection be assured? Ah well, so that’s how it happened. She visited the hospital paa but wanhu doctor da.

 

That aside, finally D-day arrived and she was brought in to the hospital. According to her, her first two birth experiences had been the same – her cervix took forever to dilate and so it had to be induced on both occasions. Now her contractions intensified, she couldn’t bear it, she called for the midwife, midwife examined her and told her to wait because she was only 3cm dilated. That was when she informed them of her previous experiences and that should they wait, she wasn’t going to be able to stand it. What was the midwife’s response? “Please Madam, we work with time here, so wait,” ordered her back in bed and left.

 

My…my…somebody hold me! But of course you work with time! I mean, time wasted could mean loss of life! So hell yeah you work with time, and if patient had said this, you should take it seriously, no? Minimize discomfort and pain…she has experienced this before for crying out loud. You don’t just disregard it! But disregard it they did, up until she claimed she felt the baby had descended way down, pressing against her, hurting her, till this lady in labour couldn’t take it anymore, got out of bed and started pacing the hallway, where she overhead some of the midwives and a doctor discussing her – “we should rush her to the theatre now if we want to save the mother too..” she heard. One of the nurses turned and found her in the corridor, helped her back in bed, all the while this lady pleading with them to tell her something, do something….they sent her back to bed! Did she not have the right to know if something was wrong?! But nurses plus doctor failed to do so. Eventually she was sent in to delivery room, she pushed, baby dropped, and she sees the midwife tie up her baby in a polythene cloth soon after. She asked why she had done that and nurse without saying anything, untied the baby, tied her in a cloth instead and walked out with the still bundle in her hands. I couldn’t believe my ears! She kept asking why they wouldnt let her or her family present see the baby even if she was dead!

 

To cut a long story short, the baby died (something that shouldn’t have happened), mother did not see baby’s face, neither did any of her family present, the baby’s body was taken care off by the hospital. A lot of other unimaginable BS happened after delivery, including the lady being asked to carry blood samples to the lab herself! Now the lady wants answers, and is dragging the hospital and those who saw to her that day to court. DRAG THEM ALL TO COURT! please do!

 

When you have not experienced medical emergencies where you are the patient, or been on admission for days or weeks or months, you may not understand this or believe some of these things, but trust me, it is a lot of bullshit, what happens in our hospitals, both public and private, but especially the public hospitals. The number of lives lost due to negligence…ha! My question most of the time is “Why enter life-saving business, something you took an oath for, and do otherwise, killing people?! I have met amazing health practitioners, and I have met downright disrespectful and vile health practitioners, the latter so far being in the majority. Why?! It makes no sense! You do not want to be admitted in Korle Bu…even if most of the nurses are nice to you, there will be one from hell present…and you will find yourself praying that nurse would not be assigned to you or the ward you are in, depending.

 

Sometime in 2008/9, I came down with a very bad cough, with flu-like symptoms. One night, I couldn’t breathe too well, it was much worse lying down, and I was chilled thoroughly. Hot tea saw me through the bad night, and I took myself to the University Hospital, Legon, in the morning. With my ribs hurting badly like every breath I took in stabbed me, and the fact that I had coughed out a little blood in the morning (just a sliver of blood actually) convinced me, I was going to need an Xray done and such. I waited through the line, went in to see the doctor, and he barely listened to me. “Eheh” he said, and I listed my symptoms, including the almost unbearable pain in my chest in ribs when I coughed, and the slight difficulty i had in breathing. He was scribbling away as I talked, and was done by the time I was done talking. He asked nothing, just gave me my folder and said ‘go for these drugs.’ So I asked him, ‘Don’t I need an xray?’ and he scoffed! He scoffed, and shook his head with that look on his face suggesting he was probably staring at a hypochondriac. ‘just go for those drugs, you will be fine.’ Okayyy, if you say so, Doctor. I went for my meds and decided you know what, let me go home to my parents (I wasn’t with them at the time). The meds were cough syrup, vitamin C tablets and Paracetamol. Full stop. I got home, started my medication, pain got worse, difficulty breathing got worse, we called my brother (he is a doctor himself) and he advised we go to another hospital, get an X-ray done, because he suspected pneumonia, though the blood by then I was coughing in more evident quantities could mean Tuberculosis. So I was sent to another hospital (a private one) got the X-ray done, as well as other tests, and my brother’s suspicions were confirmed, it was Pneumonia, in my case, with traces of blood in the fluid that was slowly filling my inflamed lungs. I was admitted, by then I had gotten so weak, went through thorough treatment, until I was completely well. Now assessing this incident, I could have died. What if I had no doctor brother or friend or family member to call for advise. What if I had stuck to the meds I had been given earlier because I had been told they were going to be fine and I sat there thinking oh maybe it gets worse before it gets better like how these malaria meds can do to you. What if? What if? What if? I would have dropped dead with cough syrup and vitamin C stuck in my throat, after having visited a hospital! Not that I didn’t go, I did! But it was what could have killed me! I vowed never to go to that hospital ever again. I was wrong. The next time I went I was rushed there. I was first ‘dumped’ in a wheelchair because they claimed the emergency ward was full. I couldn’t sit, that posture was killing me, I needed to lie down, I was in immense pain, I was crying, and shivering, but I was left sitting out there. My sister, who had a new African print cloth in the trunk of her car, had to go cut a few yards to come cover me up. Eventually they brought a stretcher, placed it at the entrance of the emergency ward, and put me on that. It was not comfortable, there was no pillow, it was aggravating my situation. I wanted to die, than bear all that was happening. Oh and I cried. I cried my innards out, because I was literally dying and nurses were just a few meters away from me, seated, chatting. I could hear them chatting and laughing, a few of them stopping to talk about how some of ‘us’ just come around and disturb like we were the only ones suffering. My brother came around eventually, angry, went in to see the doctor on duty, and when he realized he was a doctor too, had the nurses come inject me with a pain killer, which helped a bit. But I insisted, and my family present that night agreed with me that there was no way I was staying there in that hospital. So they rushed me to a private hospital, where I stayed for about two months – very expensive facility, but wonderful service! But my experiences had taught me the hypocritical nature of some of our health practitioners. They dare not abuse a patient in a ‘high-paid’ private hospital (especially when you are paying for executive single room wards, etc) but go see them in a government hospital or pseudo-government hospital and you will wonder if they are the same people. I have met some like that. They are horrible in their original work places which are the government hospitals, and angels in their lo-cum or part-time hospitals which are mostly private. Not just the nurses, people… the doctors too.

 

Is it the Hippocratic Oath or the Hypocrit…hmph! you know where that was headed. I could list several personal experiences if they were not more personal compared to the two I shared. All those instances could have killed me. And all the time it was something avoidable. It was an unpardonable mistake, it was laziness on the part of a nurse or a doctor, it was a ‘you can’t tell me how to do my job’ kinda atmosphere, and this has been killing a lot of people daily in this our Ghana! Why?! It is BS!  I have had wrong drugs administered to me, drugs not given to me, injections gone wrong, IV lines wrongly set, and no apologies given for it. And to top all these the attitude! The coldness of some of these nurses and doctors, especially nurses. Rude, inconsiderate, seemingly so familiar with sick people and death they have stopped feeling, empathizing. Is that what they swore to do?? You should hear people’s account in detail, and pray you never get so sick you need a nurse to wipe you ass, because God help you, you will be miserable. The emotional stress alone can kill you. You get treated like trash, you wonder if these people have family and friends.

 

I was happy this lady who lost her child was talking legal action. It is about time we had more of these. It is sad that it has to come to the increase of legal actions being taken against such health practitioners to get them to sit up. I believe it is a profession of heart and passion. It’s like art, you go in because it is in you to do it, you are passionate about helping to save the lives of people. Oh but we all know that is not the case. Some of our doctors go in for the profession because of the title and the ‘prestige and some of our nurses go in because it was either all that was left to do, or again, for the title. Fine, even if so…you took an oath…it states clearly…

 

FIRST

DO

NO

HARM!

 

 

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13 thoughts on “ASSORTED BS

  1. Let it all out. I wish this could be published in the daily’s or something. The situation is getting out of hand. Some hospitals are no longer places of healing. They are places to die a painful, shameful, helpless death and something needs to be done!!! Like soonest!

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    1. Legal action is a good step in a case as bad as ours. If a few of them had been thrown in jail by now, others will learn. The disregard for human life in life-saving business is the irony we are faced with and it is sad…heartbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm. If not for my brother who used to work at a government hospital, I would have lost my mum early this year . But I did loose my uncle tho ,no bed , and a whole of issues .The attitude of these nurses is a contributing factor and also the hospitals are too choked ,no doctors etc.The health system in all needs a total overhauling .

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  3. The disregard for human life; I don’t know where it stems from. It’s as if they are taught that as well. Smh. I am glad the lady is taking legal action. I just hope it’s fast. I am sure a lot more people would want to do that too but our court system has its own issues as well but….Sigh.

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  4. That is the more reason why I always go to a private hospital. Amma, when I was 14, I had typhoid then I went to a public hospital. The doctor did not conduct any test and gave me antesonnat ammodiquine (I hope I’m right). My grandmother who was a nurse was so unsure of it and told me not to take it. The next day, I was getting worse and she told me to take 3 out of the 4 tablets because she was still not sure the medicine was even right for me. 2 hours after taking that drug, my mother, was just buying something outside and Amma, I was dying. At that time I was in my room, no one was at home and I had to use my energy to get out of the house to get help. From my room to the main door to the main street so naturally take you not more than 20 seconds. But it took me 15 minutes, I couldn’t breath, I was yet beyond description. I finally got out, got to my neighbors house and because its a bit sloppy, I rolled over. I was convinced I was dead. Later, I was at a private hospital, they tool my blood sample and before the results even came for the treatment to even come, the doctor asked “Why would any doctor prescribe to you that drug?”. I was still subconscious that I heard him correctly. So if i had taken 4 tablet as the doctor had prescribed, I would have died. From that time up to now, even for my dental service, i went to a private hospital

    Liked by 1 person

      1. chale…am glad you shared this. most of the nurses nowadays go into the profession just because there is nothing else to do, without the passion needed for such a delicate field…. But for God’s protection, most patients wouldn’t have been lucky to survive such BAD services…

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  5. It’s really sad what happened to this lady. As a health professional…a doctor working in Ghana….my profession is to say the least ….discouraging. If I may, let me weigh in on the challenges we face in the health profession that contribute to stories such as this one.

    Unfortunately our hospitals in Ghana are mostly not staffed with enough doctor

    1) In Ghana because of the volume of patients, especially antenatal pregnant patients, especially at smaller public facilities, midwives may see regular antenatal cases while “sick patients i.e. patients in whom complications are detected or high risk pregnancies (hypertension in pregnancy, diabetes, previous caesarian section, previous miscarriages, Sickle cell disease patients and others) are reviewed by the doctor. In places like the UK midwives may attend to mothers throughout the duration of pregnancy as they are very well trained for that purpose similar to what happens here.

    The problem with midwifery in Ghana is that their training has suffered much like high school education (SSS? SHS? A level?) because politics has caused a back and forth toss between how many years they should and what requirements there should for entering their profession. As a result not every midwife is on the same level of training….not every nurse holds a bachelor degree in nursing. That my dear is a complex story too deep to delve into in one message.

    It’s not because doctors have a God complex or require “VIP passes” to be seen, it’s just because more often than not in Ghana and many parts of Africa hospitals are grossly understaffed. If you have 1 doctor seeing 40-50 (no exaggeration) patients vs 1 doctors seeing 10-15 per clinic day like in the US or UK….you see where some of the problems lie. I think i can speak for most doctors in Ghana when i say we would love if things weren’t as they are but the system is such that it is not humanly possible. To make sure every patient is seen the burden has to to be shared….unfortunate but true. As in all sectors in Ghana, communication skills and customer service are poor, clearly seen in this lady’s case.
    Having worked in the largest teaching hospital and referral center in Ghana I have received patients referred from the peripheries and been so angry because i could not believe how the system failed these patients. Believe me your frustration is shared by many health professionals.

    2) Everyone wearing a white coat and consulting is not always a doctor. Because government officials are always looking for the cheap way out, instead of making funds available to public facilities to ensure they have enough qualified physicians, they would rather opt for cheap labour.
    My dear, in most government hospitals in Ghana unless maybe larger teaching hospitals physician assistants OUTNUMBER doctors. They wear white coats and stethoscopes like me, and don’t get me wrong I am in no way belittling their education and contribution to the health system but there is a reason whh we are called Doctors….because we go to school for 6-8years (8 years in my case), have additional 2 years training in pediatrics, obstetrics, internal medicine, surgery, anesthesia, psychiatry before becoming fully licensed. Unfortunately a politician…I believe the late president Atta Mills ( or was it a minister of health) once said he would rather go and get “Cuban doctors and Herbal practitioners” to take care of the Ghanaian populace than pay doctors what is their due. Even in the US where physician assistants are more vigorously trained and into things like research….they still work under supervision of doctors, not because doctors are all knowing but because their training is much harder, much more in depth because of the responsibility placed in their hands.
    Judge for yourself the value we place as Africans on excellence….

    Did I mention my salary is just over $400 dollars a month and my monthly housing allowance comes up to about $35/month? BTW…the hours I work per week exceeds by far the 40hr work week stipulated in the Ghana Labour laws. Laughable right……..

    3) And about those private hospitals……
    Did you know the same doctors that you see at government hospitals are the ones also working (if they even hire doctors) moonlighting at private places. See how much more comfortable and how much safer you feel in those places?
    But the difference is private management not better doctors…I guarantee. When we work in an environment that is more organised, have the tools we need, can order all the test required to effectively manage our patients, when our patients can afford the drugs and treatments needed, when you see your doctor by appointment instead of among 200 other women who also just SHOWED UP, when staff is fairly compensated for the hours they work,
    nurses, doctors, lab techinicians, pharmacists, clerks, EVERYONE one works a lot a better.

    I am not making excuses for that nurse or that doctor….how could I even attempt to discount the ordeal this woman went through. Besides you need 2 sides of the story to conclusively say anything…but if there genuinely was negligence then I pray this lady and her family gets the justice own them.

    I just had to take time to reply to this post to shed light on just some of the cracks in the health system…really this is just the tip of the iceberg.
    I really hope that as Ghanaians become more enlightened and exposed and conversant of their rights to kickback against negligence in my profession and unprofessionalism, I hope they will also join healthworkers when we fight to improve our health system.

    I hope less and less Ghanaian will be part of those who insult us as we were on radio when we threatened to stop working when Ebola was an imminent threat because hospitals did not have enough gloves, gowns, masks to protect us and the thousands of patients we come in contact with.
    I hope you won’t call us arrogant and spoiled and accuse us of having a “God complex” when we say we refuse to work without Conditions of Service (that among other things stipulate how many hours we can work in a day for example) and will resign en mass if the proper authorities do not see to it.

    You see most of us (there are exceptions) love our patients and what we do enough to see the difference between the quality of service we can provide when things are done and made right. Even I fear when my relatives are sick and I am not there to attend to them because I can’t vouch for who they will be meet where they go.

    I hope you and other Ghanaians will take time to really stand behind those of us on the frontline when it come to the health care challenges of this country. After all we are all citizens of this land and it is all of our responsibilities to ensure things are done right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! This is an entire blog post in itself! 😄 But I am happy you took time send such an insightful reply to complement all I said.
      I am a hundred percent in agreement with your contributions. The entire system is a heartbreaking story.
      As much as I speak against bad attitude of health practitioners to doctors, I speak against vice versa. With two nurses and a doctor in my immediate family, I understand too well these challenges. A holistic campaign to improve this very important structure is long overdue.
      All this said, I appreciate immensely, the health practitioners, who in spite of these challenges, don’t succumb to channeling their stress and misgivings towards patients (who are also struggling with theirs).
      This must not end here.

      Liked by 1 person

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