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Citizens must demand proper health care

I have had the unfortunate pleasure of visiting one of our health facilities during the first two and a half weeks of the new year. First, with my mother and then with my daughter, and, oh boy, did I have a swell time—one I am sure many of you can identify with.
Let me start with the very unfriendly staff who greets your urgent issue with disregard as if to say, “Take yah time with me, eh,” and the disrespect is utterly disgusting, to say the least. It’s apparent there is no urgency in any matter that greets our very efficient and highly educated nurses at the “triage cage”.
The process, or the lack thereof, is a frustrating experience that can make anyone go temporarily insane. This is due to the lengthy waiting process that takes place upon entering the building. One has to wait to see the nurse at the triage cage, who takes your complaint and documents it on a card. Then you have to wait again to see another nurse, who gives you a basic check-up and asks you questions that I do not believe pertains to the initial complaint.
Then you have to wait again for the clerks in the register booth to call your name and take you personal information before the card is finally sent to the nurses’ station where you have to wait again for your name to be called before a doctor can see you, and God forbid, the doctor attends to you and requests that you do any additional tests.
Now, I might be a bit presumptuous in saying there are no good managers at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), but all should be fired based on my observations because they are not running their respective departments efficiently at all.
There is always chaos in Tri­age, the facility is way too small for the hundreds who frequent the hospital on a daily basis. The nur­ses always seem to be lost as to what should or should not be done and that in itself will frustrate any­one. Remember, these patients who are ill expect the nurses and doctors to know how to manage their cases and to be practical and efficient, not walk around like head­less chickens, chitter-chattering and having a grand time while you are in pain and frustrated.
I entered the hospital optimistic, knowing exactly what I’d have to face but I left with a serious migraine, severe back pain and swollen feet. I felt like my pressure had skyrocketed after the first three hours. My only comfort was knowing my daughter was better, accor­ding to the doctor, and my mom was back in the comfort of her home, resting and recuperating.
My plea, therefore, is not for Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, officials of the Minis­try of Health, the chairman of the South-West Regional Health Au­tho­rity, the ma­nagers of SFGH or the nurses but to us the citizens of this country: stand up and state your claim.
If you are not directly affected and you believe you are okay, it may not affect you but generations to come. Join in the fight to make our health care facilities better. Join the fight to have efficient, pro­fes­sional and customer-focused nurses and doctors. Join the fight in having a process that works. We are heard if we stand together in numbers, for two heads are better than one.
Stay healthy to stay alive.
Malissa Burton-Valentine
via e-mail
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