Too much amiss with the new Linden Hospital Complex

Dear Editor,

The Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) is indeed complex; the label ‘state of the art’ is daily being seen as a misnomer.

I met a young woman who not so long had become a mother for a third time; she was in a bright mood and in high praise of the LHC where she had given birth. She related to me how well she was treated, and couldn’t expect better. The excellent treatment, she explained with a broad winsome smile, was like chalk to cheese compared to the other hospital where she had given birth previously.

And so I thought, as I have done before, I would give credit where due by highlighting her experience. So cheers here for the LHC, although I sincerely wonder aloud whether there were other such pleasing accounts and hers was not a one-off scenario.

Now, from all accounts the Linden Hospital Complex is a far cry from being overwhelmingly pleasing to Lindeners.  There are those who like to say don’t look back, let the dead past remain where it belongs ‒ forgotten ‒ and let’s move on.  But how can you tell how far you’ve come if there is no marker? How do you gauge and judge your level of development or decline for that matter, without comparisons?

I recall when the LHC was nearing completion in 2009 I wrote saying that Lindeners were waiting with eagerness and great expectation on the completion of the state-of-the-art hospital: no more woes, long waits, lack of drugs; no more having to be rushed to Georgetown for treatment any decent hospital should have, or as Teneisha DaSilva in her song ‘Don’t want to be born’ sang: “Yuh go in with a gum boil and end up with six feet down in the soil.” No! We will be much better taken care of – so they thought – and they were dead wrong!

Let me repeat that the pessimism that the community harbours about the unsatisfactory mode of operation is justified. Why should a medical institution be so feared? You have to listen to people tell of the stressful nightmare/‘daymare’ experiences, and it makes you wonder, what the heck… Often, prescriptions for serious cases have to be sought and bought elsewhere, and hardly at an affordable price for poor, ordinary folks; patients have to arrange for water to be brought in or purchased. What will it be like for a stranger who happens to be hospitalized for two, three days.  This state – of – the – art institution as many Lindeners will attest, is definitely not equipped to deal with two emergencies simultaneously – nah! Let one serious critical case roll in and watch all bets are off. The recent fatal accident in the mines that claimed the lives of three is an exact case in point; one gentleman said he went there in a critical condition, panting but was not attended to  until some five hours later! “You have to go there in a stretcher if yuh want attention.”

People complain of just having one, sometimes two doctors on most days, and most times after the morning sessions they are gone for the rest of the day. Some Medexes (Medics) and others, when they leave for lunch or to take a break are not back in no time ‒ soon ‒ ever.  But what of the yearly increasing batch of medical practitioners who have been returning from Cuba and elsewhere; just where are they? I am told that Kwakwani Hospital is not in good shape either; in fact they are right now without a doctor.  However, let me say there are a few members of staff who are deserving of praise and of whom the public do speak highly, but as mentioned above this is not the norm, and in no way should a state-of-the-art hospital be allowed to continue
functioning below par.

I was made to understand that at present the hospital has no functional ambulance. While there are about three lying somewhere in disrepair, there was also one sent to a mechanical workshop and remained there for about three years; then it was sent back in the same state of disrepair, even though an order was made out for the purchase of parts which were bought.  Just why are these things allowed to happen?  How can this hospital operate and be of real service without at least two ambulances in this day and age? Even if not top of the line, at least of an acceptable standard.

But still some say we complain too much, we should be thankful, learn to cut and contrive, and make do with what we have until better comes ‒ but the question is when? And while I do not wish to dwell on the past, I’m forced to do so for the benefit of those who want to impress upon us that the present medical scenario is far above and beyond that which once was.  The old, still existing Demba Hospital of a bygone time, as some Lindeners still around and those who were fortunate to have had the experience of being an inpatient/outpatient or for that matter just a visitor would recall, was much more classy. They would be somewhat hesitant – even spurn any comparison with this ‘state-of-the-art’ hospital; they would testify that in almost every conceivable department – with the exception of being a smaller structure ‒ there is no match. Pick any number, select any which or whatever, and the order, function, efficiency and professionalism of the former institution will come out on top hands down.  There is so much amiss and adrift with this new LHC, it’s just not comforting.

Yours faithfully,
Frank Fyffe

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