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UHWI let me lose faith in public health care

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Dear Editor,

I was threatened with ill health and had to seek medical attention at what many people would consider to be one of Jamaica's finest hospitals in the Corporate Area, the University Hospital of the West Indies.

It was my first time at the institution and I was extremely hopeful that I would get the best possible care. But nothing could be further from the truth. Only one person was at the Customer Service Department registering patients while others could be seen walking aimlessly from one office to the next.

During my wait to be registered a man was ahead of me and his process took all of 50 minutes to be completed, as I was painstakingly counting every minute on my watch. To make matters worse, I was in extreme pain and had the unfortunate task of waiting for six long hours before I could finally be seen by a medical practitioner.

This is utter slackness and needs to be addressed urgently by the stakeholders. At no point in time did a member of staff come to ease the discontent that was being felt by all those patients, including myself, who had been waiting for that 'ray of hope' just to be seen by a doctor who would ensure that our pain-stricken bodies would soon be better.

The doctor who attended to me did not help to alleviate my annoyance and discontent. Instead, I was met by her cold stares and overall stoic expression. Her demeanour read something like, “I just need to get through my shift and be home.” It was rather disheartening to see her and other doctors whom I observed with this sort of detachment from their patients. Although one could argue that these doctors may be tired and overwhelmed by the nature of their duties, is it safe to say that sympathy and rapport with one's patient is isolated from the service that these professionals are to somehow maintain?

The nurses I observed were no better. A man who was screaming in pain was told with much indifference to be quiet because, in her defence, he was overdoing it.

This unfortunate experience has caused me to lose faith in the current health care system, and I highly recommend that those in higher authority work assiduously to curb what is a breakdown in quality service.


Ladelle Jones