August 16, 2003

When Health Care Becomes an Oxymoron

It may have taken a year for me to get a simple medical test procedure on the NHS, from the time I was rushed to hospital and almost prepped for surgery on a suspected rupture bowel. And it may have taken five hours for them to find me an available bed while they kept me doped up on morphine to keep me from complaining. At least I wasn't dripping with blood with my face ripped apart.

Last Saturday here in Hooterville, an eight-year-old boy had an accident on his bicycle and smashed his face into the pavement. As his mother recounted to a local newspaper, he was "covered in blood, his gums were ripped apart and his face was twice the size where it was already swelling up." She rushed him to the A&E (what we call the ER in this country). Without rendering any care or assistance to him, the boy was kept in the waiting room for four hours, wearing only his jeans and shoes. He wasn't even offered a blanket.

When he was finally seen by a doctor at around midnight, his mouth was ignored and a band-aid was stuck on his elbow. He was given no pain killers, no antibiotics to ward off infection, nothing. The doctor just told his mother to take him to the dentist the next morning.

When she was able to get him in to see a dentist the next day, he was finally prescribed medication and x-rays revealed that his jaw was broken. When she returned to the hospital, they weren't sympathetic, not to even mention apologetic. Instead, they said the x-rays were wrong, even though they stilll hadn't looked at his injuries.

Posted by david at August 16, 2003 09:23 PM | TrackBack