Sunday, 30 December 2007

Nightmare Nurse

Self-inflicted excess

I saw a world I never knew existed or ever thought I would ever encounter and I received such great understanding of the quest for health and healthcare and the role of money.

I left my hotel rather late to participate in the Saturday night life, at the main entrance to the hotel an ambulance was being called for a “lady” who had done it to excess, she was retching and vomiting like Niagara Falls, I shook my head.

There were enough friends and people around her including the police, so I walked on by shaking my head at what people get up to, on holiday.

Mugged by thugs

I reached the back-end of Yumbo Centre and noticed some commotion, two guys appeared to be beating up a man, so I hollered at them as they picked up bottles and threw at him and kicked him to the ground.

As a couple of other people gathered round the boys walked away, they just walked away. I went down to talk to the man, he was seriously bloodied, his face covered with blood and his clothes stained all over.

He was a victim of a mugging and it appears he was taken advantage of just as he recovered from an epileptic fit, thankfully, they did not make away with either money or his phone.

The Devil’s Clinic

So, I helped the man up and told him he should be able to get treatment at the Policlinica run by Dr. Felipe Caceres Arvelo which is in front of the tourist office – we went there together and I rung the bell.

In my naivety, I thought the nurse would come out, see the emergency and attend to the man immediately then talk about the formalities later.

I was wrong, the first thing he asked for was insurance and the ability to pay, I said no problem with that, and asked him to take the man in for treatment.

But we were met with such bureaucratic spiel as the man bled and began to shake, I could not believe that a nurse could see another human-being in that condition and still be so particular; as if anyone goes out on a Saturday night with passport, insurance and health papers – this was an emergency, a man was seriously wounded and needed help.

I cannot believe this

I was so distraught, I found myself wailing in disbelieve as I opened my wallet and threw all I had in it on the floor – if you want money, there is the money treat the man – I shouted.

I was drama-queen, histrionics and melodrama personified, making a scene that was getting quite embarrassing for the nurse – it was enough to invite us in and then go through the formalities of filling in the forms and taking all sorts of details before he cleaned up the wound and recommended the man go to a hospital for an X-ray of his face.

The Good Samaritan had an easier time because the people at the inn had a bit of humanity in them – this “nurse” or the business masquerading as a clinic had no soul, in fact, the man could not wash the blood off his hands and arms because the clinic had no hot water at night.

People first, money later

Now, I am not advocating private clinics should be run as the social services, but the primary premise should be service to humanity especially where it was an emergency and where they are in proximity to the scene of the incident – we can sort out the details later.

This really contrasts with the situation I had in Paris when I had taken off a good chunk of skin from my toe after hitting my foot – the nurse at the chemist immediately attended to me, dressed the wound and refused payment – I could not let such kindness go unrewarded.

I fear though that the love of money and only money at the expense of everything else is sapping us of our humanity and compassion, we express greater love for animals than for fellow human-beings.

For the shoddy job the nurse did, I parted with EUR 90, not that it matters, but I would have been happier if he had just got on with it at first.

Finally, I helped the man into a taxi for his hotel where he was to collect his passport and insurance to have his nose X-rayed at another hospital. We are people and human-beings first, everything else should revolve around that.

Unfortunately, my altruistic views are becoming too old-fashioned that I am lost when the simple things like consideration, kindness and compassion are missing from the interaction with others.

It makes one wonder what the world is coming to.

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