Source: Google photo of high-cost ICU care that could not save Joel
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Synopsis: It is heart wrenching to watch poor people taken advantage of by the doctors and hospitals that demand a high cost for the medical care they provide and often do not accept government sponsored insurance program so demand cash. Their inhumanity in insisting on monetary gains over care and concern for their patients shows the degeneration of our basic humanistic values.
I was walking with my wife in the neighborhood yesterday when we heard a horrible scream coming from a house nearby. It did not stop for a long time making us very nervous because we know them and wondered why there was such a commotion. Only this morning we came to know that their youngest and the prettiest daughter hung herself and was pronounced dead in the hospital. The shylocks in the hospital charged the grieving parents one hundred dollars just to give a death certificate which was so appalling that made me write this blog. Their sheer inhumanity boggles the mind but that is how they make money at the expense of the misery of others and feel no shame doing it.
Hospitals especially the private ones are known for their greed and lack of compassion for their patients where they employ guards with strict orders not to let any patient check out unless their bills are fully paid dead or alive. It is the same hospital I had the misfortune to go to for some minor ailment and where I saw the filth and smelled the stink of cockroaches in the room, but they charged me a huge amount for some Buscopan tablets that cost pennies outside.
The food they served me was a bowl of yellow water called soup and a 5-inch-long boney fish with a bowl of poor-quality rice I could not eat. The bill for this poor-quality food was extraordinary but that is how they make money. The nurse counted and billed even a cue tip that she used. My wife was allowed to sleep in the room, but they only provided her with a very narrow hard wooden bench less than two feet wide with no mattress or a pillow, so she had to suffer a sleepless night as well.
This sort of poor-quality hospital service is widespread here where they refuse the government insurance and say that they accept only cash that a patient must deposit before they let him stay there. Then a horde of doctors starts coming to check the patient and suggest numerous lab tests that the patient must pay for plus the fee for all the doctors who make use of the opportunity to make a lot of money quickly. They do not give the patient the right to choose his own doctor or the laboratory tests he wants. These doctors treat the patient as moron who must obey what he is told and just pay the cost.
I was so angry at their greed and poor service that I checked out after just one day, but the nurse asked me to sign a form letter saying that the doctors are not responsible if anything happens to me later as if they really cared. I promised myself that I will never visit that hospital again even if I am very sick, but all the hospitals here behave the same way. Before a patient is checked into a hospital, he is asked to sign a form that states that the doctors cannot be sued for malpractices.
In Haiti that is one of the poorest countries in the world, a doctor was found to be careless in operating on a patient leading to the death of the patient. So, the enraged relatives came to kill the doctor who fled the town immediately and hid somewhere. This hospital was near my home and the careless nurse was my landlady who was also a very scandalous woman who stole all my kitchenware when I was leaving. May be the Haitians are right in taking the matter into their own hands. It certainly put fear into that doctor who botched up his operation, so he fled with his tail between his legs.
I went to another hospital where an American woman was admitted but she was given a very dirty room with a stinky mattress and a filthy bed sheet on it, so she sent me a message to rescue her. I brought her home and took care of her and her Haitian boyfriend who had a jeep accident. I then called their employer in Port au Prince to bring them to a better facility somewhere and brought them to a missionary run facility for x ray and other help. The hospitals in Haiti are dirty and not worth going to just like here because of poverty and lack of resources. It is hard to tell how well trained the doctors and nurses are there.
When my wife needed a surgery to remove her tumors, I had to bring her to a government hospital in Manila some 66 kms away where the doctor said that her fee must be paid in cash because she does not trust the hospital to pay her, and she does not accept the government insurance program. At the time of leaving after her recovery, the anesthesiologist, the laboratory technician and even the guard stood in line to be paid in cash for their services that created a very bad impression in my mind about the hospitals here although the surgeon did her job and my wife recovered well later. It was good that our sweet daughter flew in from Australia to stay with her mother in her room and took care of all her needs. She is a jewel.
Recently some news came from India where a hospital charged a huge amount to the father of a small boy who had a minor accident on the road that needed a simple first aid in the outpatient clinic, but hospital doctors performed a major and needless surgery on the poor boy that led to the death of the child on the operation table. Then they refused to let the grieving and heartbroken father have the body of his child on whom the greedy doctors had performed a totally unnecessary surgery and did not accept the responsibility for his death but insisted that the hospital had to be paid in full. They were so heartless that it is shocking.
They also refused to accept the government health Insurance program just like here so the poor father who had no money to pay the huge bill reported the matter to the government authorities who then started the investigation that led to the arrest of the doctors and the owner of the 14-story luxury hospital who had built the hospital illegally without permit and on land forcibly taken from the owner without any compensation.
His wife was also arrested on charges of massive fraud, graft and corruption that made the couple very rich, but India is cracking down hard on criminals by arresting them. Other countries should follow the Indian example because the inhumanity of doctors in greedy hospitals worldwide is more common than one is led to believe.
We have all heard about the monster doctor who made his patient unconscious and removed illegally his kidney to sell to patients in the United States and other countries who paid thousands of dollars for it. He was eventually caught in India and prosecuted for his crime but how many more such doctors are operating elsewhere?
In the United States, a pregnant woman was refused admission in a hospital because she did not have an insurance so the poor woman suffering great pain and distress gave birth to her baby in the parking lot. Even then no hospital worker came out to help her. The war veterans stay in the filthy cockroach infested hospital rooms in government hospitals where they wait for days before a doctor or nurse comes.
Only in Mexico City, I found a world class, neat and clean hospital where the doctors were excellent and full of concern for their patients. When our son fell from a swing one day in a park, a social worker came immediately and called the ambulance that came soon to bring him to a hospital. We did not know anything or where to go so we took a taxi to the Cruz Roja Hospital that was suggested by the social worker where a doctor attended to our son immediately and took him to the operation theater to fix his broken bone.
They fixed his elbow accurately and very professionally and put it in a cast that was removed a month later in Haiti. The best part was the hospital did not charge anything at all for their excellent services, but we gave some donation, nevertheless. The fact that my employer did not reimburse me for the expenses was another matter not worth writing about.
It fills me with great disappointment when I see the greed of people who are supposed to look after their patients to the best of their ability in any hospital but find them unfit for their job. They cannot recite the doctor’s oath if you ask them so perhaps do not take the Hippocratic oath seriously.
Source : Google photo of doctors and nurses taking Hippocratic oath
We do get sick once in a while or may have an accident somewhere, so we need immediate medical assistance. This misfortune then becomes a nightmare when you find out how bad the hospitals really are and how inhuman the doctors are, so it is just the shame no matter where you live because you are forced to endure their inhumanity on top of your own medical issues.
Once I was doing some gardening when I felt something bit my hand. Soon it swelled up and became very itchy, so I knew that it was a worm that had bit into my palm and had burrowed itself under the skin. A day later the itching became more intense, and the worm could be seen under the skin getting longer and spreading a toxin that made my palm dark, so I went to a hospital to seek help.
The emergency room staff refused to even look at my hand by saying that it happened yesterday, so it is not an emergency. I must check into the hospital at a great cost, but I refused because I knew that it was an outpatient issue. It had happened to me in Africa before. Another doctor also refused to treat the issue because she admitted that she did not know what the problem was so asked me to go to another hospital 35 kms away. There a doctor also refused and referred me to a skin specialist who was not available while the worm was getting to be more of a nuisance.
Finally I searched Google to find the right medication and was told that a simple worm killing tablet called Mintezol that is widely available over the counter in any pharmacy should do the trick but the pharmacist was in cahoots with the doctors so wanted a prescription that one has to pay for and wait for several hours for the inconsiderate doctor who always arrives late and demands a lot of lab tests and a second visit to write you the prescription that was not needed in the first place. By this time, he has made you pay several thousands of Pesos and wasted your time.
So, at this time my wife came to my aid and gave the pharmacist a tongue lashing by saying that Mintezol is an over-the-counter medicine that costs only 5 cents and given freely to children in most countries, so the pharmacist reluctantly produced the tablet and charged a dollar apiece. We had also threatened to report to the Department of Health for them to know how the pharmacists are working in cahoots with the doctors to make money from you by asking you to produce prescription for over-the-counter medicines.
This is a serious problem worldwide. In some European countries and in Cuba, health care is funded by the government using tax money so you do not have to pay anything no matter what the cost but in other capitalistic countries they require a medical insurance from you that may cost you 5000 US dollars per person per year whether you are sick or not. It works in favor of Insurance companies if you are young and healthy because they like your money but do not like to pay out if you are sick, so they do not like to insure old people who are sick and need medical help.
I know Cuba is one of the very few countries where they have free universal healthcare where no one needs to pay for it but gets excellent care. India is another country where poor people are given free medical insurance by the government that covers up to 500000 Rupees in expenses but those who are not poor must pay a lot of money to get well. The problem is that most people in this world are not rich so what happens to them when they get sick and cannot pay the high cost of hospitalization and medicine? This is an open question that begs an answer.
I know that we are not rich so maybe we will not get the medical help we may need someday when we are sick. May be staying home and dying in our bed with our dignity intact is the answer. I cannot imagine leaving a huge hospital bill for my wife to pay when I croak and put her financial health at risk. I just cannot do that because I love her.
Source : Google photo of death machine approved in Switzerland
I know that Switzerland allows euthanasia under certain circumstances when a patient decides to end his life for whatever reason but in most countries, it is illegal to do so because they protect the healthcare industry run by very rich and heartless businesspeople. They hate cheaper generic drugs because they want you to pay for their super expensive drugs, so they do not allow the hospitals to buy generics. Death machine is a morbid and depressing topic I would rather not write about.
India is a leader in the manufacturing of generic drugs that are far cheaper so anyone can afford and get well. It also exports such drugs to other countries that want them mainly in Africa but also in developed countries where people ask for generics. But cheaper drugs or not, healthcare remains a serious issue in most countries where people struggle to pay for it and get into huge debt.
I have written about the wonderful Islamic hakims who treat their patients at low cost and with compassion because taking advantage of poor people and treating them at a high cost is unlawful in their religion, but they are slowly disappearing under the onslaught of more organized money making and greedy hospitals and doctors.
I was treated by a kind hakim when I had a cut in my ankle that got badly infected. He cleaned my wound by cutting off the dead flesh and washing the wound with disinfectant soap that he made himself and then put an ointment he prepared. The ointment worked like magic, and it healed soon leaving no trace. My father paid the hakim a dollar for it. (Read my blog here called Where are the Hakims ? )
These greedy and selfish doctors influence the governments to ban doctors and healers who use traditional medicines because it hurts their money-making business. They do not allow anyone to import certain medical equipment like mobile lithotripsy vans because they have a monopoly so that they can charge any rate they want. We have been a victim of such greedy doctors here when my wife needed her kidney stones removed. In India the same procedure costs only 10 % of what we paid here.
The Moslems do not spend a great deal of money to bury their dead in simple grave because even the rich are buried wrapped in plain linen in a simple shallow grave with a handwritten epitaph, but the burial and cremation are a huge and expensive industry elsewhere.
Do you ever wonder how come the funeral parlor people show up so quickly to grab a dead body from a hospital? It is because the hospitals make a great deal of money from them, so they notify them as soon as a dead body is available for cremation or burial.
I am really sorry that a very young and beautiful child lost her life yesterday, but I am also disappointed that the hospital did not show any care or concern and charged one hundred dollars for just a signature on a printed form to declare that she was dead. It was like heaping salt on the raw wound of her parents who are in shock. The Shylocks of the funeral parlors are already salivating at the prospect of another business opportunity.
What has happened to the humanity and how people have become so inhuman that they stopped caring for others and counted only money? There used to be a time when people cared for each other and shared their grief together by coming together to carry the bier, collect money to pay for some expenses and console the grieving relatives. How people have become so uncaring, un sharing and inhuman?
This is the sign that we as human beings are losing our basic values in the race for money and false status in our community although I should not use the word community here because a real friendly community does not exist anywhere anymore except perhaps in Kalahari. Maybe we should learn from the Bushmen there how-to live-in tune with the nature and share food and water with everyone and enjoy doing it.
Source : Google photo of Bushmen sharing their hunt with others.
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