It was with mixed feelings that I read a letter written by ‘taxpayer’ on “Patient Care at GPHC” [Kaieteur News 2009-05-16] and after several restless nights, I realised that it would be remiss of me not to pen a reply.
I, like so many others, never having visited Guyana Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), have heard and believed the worst of the GPHC and had always dreaded the thought of ever having to go there for anything.
Unfortunately, last year I was diagnosed with a condition that required surgery, [urinary stones] and fearing the ‘knife’, sought every local remedy conceivable to solve the problem……unsuccessfully.
Eventually, with empty pockets and a little more wisdom, [the bush doctors and herbalists were laughing all the way to the bank], I approached GPHC with great trepidation, as the cost for the surgery alone at a private hospital would have been equivalent to more than seven months’ salary.
To make make matters short, thanks to the doctors, nurses and other staff of the Urology Department and Wards B1 and B2, I was admitted on May 4, had surgery on May 6, and was discharged on May 11. I am now recovering fine and never had to pay a single dollar to anyone at GPHC.
But more importantly, I wish to share with your readers some of my experiences and findings while I was a patient at GPHC:
* There are systems in place for everything. In order to see a doctor, patients must sit in order of arrival at the clinic. Patients start arriving before 5am and are usually in place until the nurses arrive at 7:30 am…..that’s when all hell breaks loose as the late patients try to get an early number.
I can’t help but admire the fortitude of the two nurses in charge as they try their utmost to bring order to the hostile, rude, unmannerly, impatient and mature mob of patients and to their credit, they always get the rabble to sit in order
* Doctors see patients over a number of clinics, during which time several examinations are done: ultra- sounds, x-rays, blood tests, urine, heart, pressure, diabetes etc. A diagnosis is then made then medications given or surgery recommended.
* Never during my visits or my stay was I spoken to in a demeaning manner or treated with impatience. The staff was all courteous, kind, friendly, understanding and pleasant.
Considering the condition and behaviour of some patients, I cannot help but admire and heap praises upon the nurses and other staff for their demeanour and any patient who claims otherwise, may have been treated reciprocally, because nurses are human too.
I wonder how much of what “Taxpayer” hearsay or gossip was or first hand experience, or maybe “Taxpayer” is a naturally miserable person who is trying to make others as miserable as he is.
Once again I heap praises and thanks to the doctors and staff of the Urology Department and Ward for their unstinting dedication to their jobs and exceptionally good treatment of their patients.
The behaviour of some patients and most relatives and friends leaves much to be desired. They always blame the hospital and management.
The toilets were almost always clean when I used them, except when the patients themselves misused them and for which the staff cannot be blamed. I also noticed the vehement tone used when “Taxpayer” said he arrived for his appointment to find 50 people in front of him. I could only imagine his anger, frustration, and impatience as he tried his best to get to the front of the line, never once thinking of the persons who have been travelling since 3m from Skeldon, Kwakwani, Bartica, Madhia, Charity and Timbuktu.
His behaviour is typical and the cause of the many problems experienced at GPHC. Sometimes in the case of aggressive and hostile behaviour by patients and relatives, staff has no alternative but to retreat until passions cool.
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