Mom had to visit the Emergency department one night, as she wasn’t doing so well and needed something stronger than oral antibiotics. Fortunately, the hospital was working well, and we were being seen by a doctor within half an hour of arrival.
He was a young doctor, and even if he wasn’t, he spoke as though he was very young and haven’t seen much of the world. After we told him what the problem was, he turned to the electronic record and was apprised of Mom’s multiple issues.
“Wow!” he breathed, “Aunty* has been through a lot! Do you know how lucky she is to be alive? The condition she had, you know, many people die of it. She’s quite lucky!”
I couldn’t stand it. “Well,” I said, “we take good care of her. And you’re lucky we’re not suing the hospital for missing the condition in the first instance.”
Young man, it may be your first time seeing us, but we’ve been to the hospital countless times, and if we didn’t know better, Mom would be a lot worse off.
Having said that, I’m very pleased with the treatment at this hospital for Mom all these years. Whenever she’s admitted, I get daily updates from the ward doctor, a medication check-up call from the Pharmacist on duty, and a post-discharge follow-up call from the nurse. Most times, things go right. Yet, I believe more than ever that the patient and family must take overall charge and not leave it to the “professionals” alone. Patients are living longer and with more complex and complicated conditions. We just have to help ourselves.
*Aunty is a generic way for addressing older women by respectful younger folk in our region.