Complaints regarding the delivery of regional health services have once again attracted the attention of the media, this time at the Skeldon Hospital.
The less than efficient service of the staff at the Skeldon Hospital was highlighted in a letter published in the last Sunday Stabroek.
However, attempts to contact the Skeldon Hospital for a comment proved futile. When the Director of Regional Health Services in the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Kay Shako was reached, she suggested that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Collette Adams would be in a better position to comment. It is unclear why Dr Shako would not speak considering that she is in charge of regional health services. Attempts by Stabroek News to speak with Adams also proved futile, as she was said to be unavailable.
According to Nowrang Persaud, the author of the letter, the issue began with the delayed arrival of the ambulance, which according to him was a “stone’s throw away,” from his home…
“My family doctor insisted that I go there (Skeldon Hospital) immediately for oxygen and an X-ray before proceeding by ambulance to the Woodlands Hospital in Georgetown for specialist attention… First of all the ambulance arrived and waited for me; it was still facing my house instead of the road; the doors were open to the opposite side of the steps so I had to walk around to ascend the vehicle while the driver and attendant were still standing nonchalantly outside. It took about five minutes before we could leave my yard,” the author wrote.
He continued, “I got the feeling that I could have walked across to the hospital in less time. As we arrived with the ambulance at the hospital, it took several minutes before the doctor moved from his ‘gaffing’ with others standing around him to come in and arrogantly ask me what was wrong. In the meantime I noticed two other patients waiting in the beds in the waiting room and being completely ignored while writhing in obvious discomfort.”
Having described the hospital as a “mere building with the misnomer of a hospital,” the man in need of urgent medical attention made note of the “arrogant, non-empathic attitude of the staff and virtual absence of basic amenities.”
“The staff were like inanimate fixtures attached like posts to the building devoid of any humane quality, professional pride or sense of being of service to the poor souls who are forced to seek their unwilling help…She, (the x-ray technician) roughly and rudely went through the motions of taking the X-ray with equipment that looked so unkempt that I felt uncomfortable to touch it, as I was barked at by the attendant what to do, and [to] wait for the result which in any case I was not allowed to take with me to the specialist in George-town! I naturally wondered what the use of taking the X-ray was,” the man wrote.
It was further explained that once they were ready to board the ambulance destined for Georgetown, the patient (author) at the time was told by the attendant to lie down on the “ugly, dirty, metallic ‘bench-bed’” for the ride to Georgetown.
“When I asked the attendant if she was not going to put on the oxygen, she blandly told me that there was no oxygen! I could not fathom the absence of oxygen in an ambulance taking a patient with a suspected heart condition from Skeldon to Georgetown,” the man said.
After being faced with all of the aforementioned issues, the man said he asked to be allowed to exit the ambulance to rejoin his family in their car, which was following the ambulance, in order to be transported to the [private] hospital in the city.