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Woeful saga of hospitals

Ahmad Al-Sarraf

Dear writer, I am an expatriate woman, one of the more than three million living on this good land. We produce as much as the citizens do and we have the same rights, except political, and we carry out the duties they do. “I write to you because I feel you are neutral regarding many issues.

I want to tell you about a shocking incident, and the fear is growing inside me as I get older because I feel you do not accept error or negligence, so I decided, for the first time to write to a journalist. “I had a bitter experience during my treatment at the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital. I could not sleep for the entire night for two reasons. One, I was suffering from pain and the other bitterness about the hospital.

I had to write to express what is disturbing me from within after my blood pressure shot up to a serious level and I wish you write and alert the senior health officials about this problem. “Just like others, I too suffer from health problems and on the day I had a health problem which could not be treated with painkillers or popular prescriptions, I decided to visit a doctor.

Because the private hospitals are expensive beyond my capacity, I thought that free treatment available in the public sector would be better. “The visit to the polyclinic was useless, so I was transferred to the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital which was the closest. “I was taken to an emergency room at 8:00 pm. The lounge was crowded and there was not even a vacant seat. I had to pay money and discovered the ATM was not working so I had to walk to the nearby bank to withdraw the money. I returned and took the ticket number after paying the relatively simple fee.

“After finishing the routine procedures, and completing the BP and temperature tests, it turned out that the number of my token was 560 and the running number was 516. Although there were 44 visitors before me I thought my turn would come soon but it was an illusion.

My pain was increasing. “I waited for more than two hours and until I felt desperate. I left at 10:30 pm. There were still 20 visitors. I did not get the treatment I was expecting, and I lost the money I paid for the fee, the money I needed more than the hospital does. “On my way home although in pain, I wondered: What does treatment mean if it does not come in time? Why does the state charge me a high fee for health insurance and does not provide it to me in a decent manner, which is a human and legal obligation? These three million expatriates are paying large sums to the state, and there is no doubt that the provided treatment costs much less, what if the treatment is not provided at all?’ The woman concluded saying: “Kuwait is a good country and its financial situation is better than others, so why all these shortcomings in the emergency halls in hospitals, especially in the evening, knowing that there are hundreds of honest and skilled doctors, but the pressure of work and complaints of visitors make them work inhumanly like machines without enthusiasm or passion.

“Personally, I have an insurance cover from a foreign firm, and I am covered with the ‘Afia’ health insurance system, so I can dispense with the two systems and get special treatment for myself anywhere. Unfortunately, I had to go to the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital in an emergency one night, and I cannot describe what I found personally. “Dozens of patients, who were there, expressed their sufferings with cries of protest and complaints. If some patients had a means of non-verbal protest they would not hesitate to use it against the medical and nursing staff. “I really hope the Minister of Health or the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health will pay a surprise visit to the emergency departments to see for themselves the extent of suffering of both the citizens and residents in such sections, which already need a great medical and administrative shakeup.’

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

email: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

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