The story of wee sample
Can I dream of such medical care in my own homeland
EXPERIENCE BY NAYEEMA AHMAD MAHJOOR
It is not something I have made up for you to make you smile, or to take your mind off the chilly winter or to waste your precious time. It is something that might change your opinion about the Western world where you think the grass is greener and life’s comforts come easily.
Before I tell you the story, it needs to be mentioned that most of the countries in the West are welfare states, where the well being of every citizen (health/education/rights) is the responsibility of the government and every employed citizen is bound by law to pay income tax to contribute towards national insurance which are all deducted at the source of the income. There is hardly any chance of evading taxes or other payments. The system runs smoothly and without any exaggeration meaning hardly any stomach goes hungry if people become jobless, homeless or face economic hardship. Due to recent financial recession the castle of the welfare state has began to crumble, leaving a tremendous impact on health and education which have always been the priority of the Western governments. The government is ready to compromise on defence to aviation any time, but never on the country’s two important aspects of life which are health and education of every citizen. Because of this significance that if anything goes wrong in these two sectors the government has apprehension that it will be declared failure or be toppled by the opposition.
Because of the recession, both education and health have also come under the sword of huge cuts, resulting in the downsizing of the professional staff of essential services, never mind the patients who used to get the best treatment by the government controlled health services.
Being a journalist I have had plenty of chances to visit most of the hospitals in London and every time I would dream of having such medical care to infrastructure in my hometown, that has seen the worst of human disaster during the political turmoil. The sadness and despair on the faces of my people has always overwhelmed me and my heart cries for those who have always been at the mercy of the limited staff and services provided in the state hospitals. Nothing has changed in Kashmir hospitals in spite of the fact that we have been hearing about the return of normalcy to the valley (during which time the state of disrepair has always been blamed on budget constraints). A lot has happened in the health care system in the United Kingdom after the budget cuts were announced by the government. The impact of the financial crunch has been most felt by those described as high frequency users of the services. The research and invention of new drugs has continued but the dwindling facilities in hospitals have become so limited that sometimes one does not know weather to cry and laugh.
Recently, one of my bed-ridden relatives (in London) was asked to provide a urine sample at home for which a plastic bottles was provided by the hospital. I took the labelled urine sample to surgery (doctor’s clinic in London) for it to be examined where to my disappointment I was told that the test could not be done as the sample was few hours old. I threw urine sample in surgery’s waste bin and was given another bottle for another urine sample. Next day, with the new sample in my hand I was told that the nurse who carried out these tests was not there at the time so had to throw the sample again. Third time I had forgotten to label the bottle and had no polythene pouch to carry it in. The nurse refused to take it without the polythene pouch even though she could have easily labelled it in the clinic. She was single-handedly working in the clinic so she handed it back. I threw it in the same waste bin. I was upset over the fact that they made me run around like a headless chicken coupled with the fact that my bed-ridden relative refused to send any more urine for examination. I thought the story had ended here. But no, the climax had yet to come. Next day, early morning when the council sends garbage collection trucks to collect garbage from different areas, they found the urine sample tubes as they were sorting out different types of rubbish for dumping. All the urine samples left in the bin were taken out and left at my front doorstep with a note “please do not put clinical waste into the garbage bin and take it to the surgery to be disposed off safely”.
I was in a fix what to do with urine samples. The problem in surgery was that there was only one nurse doing laboratory examinations which had previously been done by four or five nurses. The nurse in question was not in a position to spend time dealing with my urine samples as she had to attend other patients in the surgery.
The councils (which are responsible for collecting of rubbish) are also feeling choked due to the shortage of funds and have had to cut the staff responsible for the collection of other rubbish. These days’ hospitals are being advised by the government to create their own resources in order to keep the services running.
The brunt of economic crunch has also been felt by the higher education sector where students are being asked to pay unreasonably huge fees by universities, most of them unable to cope with.
If the gloomy prediction of continuing recession comes true, the health and education sector are going to be hit the hardest and there might even come a time when a doctor will be responsible for a nurse’s duty to carer to diagnostic, all in one. And, a student might have to resort to teaching him as there will be no teachers left to teach since they will have been made redundant. This is why they call it credit crunch………..because it really bites?
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Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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