No room

ILOILO City is in dire need of MORE hospitals.

The third week of June saw an abnormally large spate of patients suffering numerous ailments and seeking immediate confinement and there isn’t a single hospital bed available in the whole and wide expanse of the city.

Scour all the hospitals in the city and there just isn’t a vacant hospital bed. It is easy to imagine the plight and fright of patients who need immediate medical treatment.

The emergency room of the hospital is akin to market day. So many coughing and sneezing  near you; babies screaming upon placement of IV bags; patients undergoing operations waiting at the emergency room for transport to the operating room; and everyone, patients and bantay, sleeps on plastic chairs; outside the door; along the aisles, wherever.

People of all colors, odors, persuasions, and professions are bunched together in the emergency room waiting for a vacant room. And you are charged already upon admission at the emergency room!

Some patients have been waiting for a vacant hospital room for two days; 18 hours; 15 hours. That is how terrible the shortage of hospitals is in our fair city. Patients in the province probably suffer more with worse inhospitable tales of woe.

But at least, the hospital is punctual and cordial. Early in the morning before you can brush your teeth, your cell phone rings with the jolly message: “Your current hospital bill is…..”

Strangely, some patients, upon receiving the text message, especially if they don’t have money, suddenly get well and check out.

The city and province of Iloilo maybe overpopulated, that is why our current hospitals could not accommodate the ailing, victims of accidents or crimes.

Another glaring deficiency noted in hospitals is the lack of good and competent nurses; residents; orderlies and janitorial services. When patients pour into the emergency room requiring immediate attention, the poor haggard and harassed nurses have literally their hands full.

Many patients who require wheel chairs have to wait for an orderly who has just wheeled another patient to his room; some patients just walk slowly to the lab for their X-rays or whatever; and there is absolutely inadequate janitorial services as only two personnel are assigned to one hospital floor with several rooms.

It takes quite a time for a resident physician to see you and find out what’s wrong with you; and the red tape of filling out forms for PhilHealth, payment to the cashier, pharmacy, etc. It is trying times like these that one’s thoughts turn heavenward.

But it is not so bad waiting uncomfortably at the emergency room for a vacancy. There is a redeeming feature…you get to know your friendly neighbor-patient, also waiting for a room.

I came to know a retired seaman, Chief Engineer for 30 years, accompanying his asthmatic wife and he regaled me of tales from the high seas and the foreign places he had touched port. We had fun time trading stories while I filled him in with cases I won (not the ones I lost) and before we knew it, there was a vacant room for us. So, he and his breathless wife went to the third floor while I was wheeled to the fifth floor.

Trading calling cards, we promised to get in touch with each other. But not at the hospital. ([email protected]/PN)

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