Sunday, June 26, 2011

Refuse Medical Attention

Today was quite a day!

It started out with the happy occasion of my parent's 44th wedding anniversary. Most of the family got together in good spirits for a celebratory lunch. The (grand)kids were also there. When lunch winded down, it was too late and I was too lazy already to go to my next class at 1:00PM, so I decided to stay with my sister at the grill. She had some drinks with some of the boys and I had coffee from nearby Starbucks. Around 6PM, my friend texted me. He was offering me his month old Nokia C6 for only 7,500. I was reluctant for two reasons. One, I just recently upgraded to a Nokia 5800, which I got for 5,000, and secondly, I was waiting in the wings for a cheaper (almost free) deal with another friend for an N7. He said he was kinda pressed to sell his unit because he will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow, and funds were low. I haggled with him, and offered a trade in, which is the usual case. He said he'd get my 5800 for 2,500. I asked him to lower the price to 7,000 and to increase the swao value of my phone to 3,500. Which brings it evens. I'd just add 3,500 for the upgrade. He said, we had a deal at 4,000. Since he was a trusted friend and had good deals previously, plus it was his birthday, I agreed. I asked my older sister if she had cash with her and she agreed to give me the 4,000 I was asking. Perfect. And so we decided to meet at our usual coffee haunt and the exchange took place. So now I have a spanking upgraded unit.

As expected, most of the usual retinue of friends were there at the coffee shop. One of them was a good friend Jarrah, with whom I had a little strain with, days back. No big deal really, just a bit of a crease and I was ready to smooth it over with today. She was asking if we could go grab dinner at Parajan, a local Tapsilog joint. The closest one was along Iznart street, near the YMCA Building. Since Mike, another friend, had a car, we three drove there after my mug of coffee.

I was in the car tinkering with my new phone and as we neared the place, we saw a clump of people gathered at our side of the road. Then we saw two people lying sprawled on the pavements! There was a vehicular accident, and a motorcycle lay some inches away. Instinctively, I scanned for rescue team, Emergency Crew or Red Cross Volunteers but none were in sight. Instinctively, my Medic training kicked in. I got out of the car and assessed the situation to determine what sort of help I could extend. I saw that both men were conscious, though one peed in his pants, and the other was clutching his chest. There was a little blood but I saw there was no need for CPR or any of that emergency care stuff. There were no Emergency Crew in sight, and someone flagged a vacant jeep so both of them could be brought to the nearest public hospital, which was in La Paz district.

I did what little I could to help by making sure they were properly lifted and carried to avoid aggravating any injury that they might have sustained. Since both were conscious, we were able to carefully lift them and got them on the jeep. Since I was mainly the one lifting/carrying both of them, one at a time, I also got into the jeep together with one tanod official to get them to the hospital. The owner of the karaoke joint nearby also followed in his motorbike as he was the one facilitating earlier.

As we arrived, one other ambulance was in the process of unloading a patient. We immediately asked for a stretcher, but it was the waiting time that was stretched instead. We told them we were concerned citizens bringing the victims for medical attention. N0 stretcher were being brought out. After almost an hour, somebody in a red shirt said the ER was fully packed and there were no beds. If we insist, the only place for them would be on the floor. He then suggested we take the two guys elsewhere. It not being our call since after all, upon bringing them in for medical attention, our job is done, and since both victims were conscious, we left it to them to decide. A few minutes later, another ambulance from a nearby town came and the patient was tended to. At first there were reporters doing bit in the hospital who tried making heads or tails of the whole thing, reporting live for the radio.Some half an hour more, a TV Camera and a reporter came and took footages, trying their best to interview the victims. A colleague from the same station I used to work at managed to get a few words from me, which wasn't that much because I really did not know what happened. My only concern was to bring them to the hospital for emergency care. Just like magic, a few more minutes later after the camera started rolling, a stretcher appeared, with a lone orderly. Finally the guy clutching his chest complaining of pain there and hardness of breathing was brought in. The other guy who was ambulatory by then got down the jeep on his own and walked in too.

I am just amazed at how almost blatantly the other hospital employee told us we could not be accommodated, suggesting we take these victims to a different hospital, lying through his teeth about being full and there being no stretchers available. I hated the fact that had these guys been in a more critical condition, the long wait could have been fatal. I hate the fact too, that the hospital, being a public hospital could refuse to admit these guys who were obviously in need of emergency medical attention, just because no folks (read: paying parties) were with them. I also hate it that the News Camera was still needed as some sort of scare-factor before they took out the friggin stretcher and admit these two guys, who most likely are still in the state of shock! Whatever happened to public service, the good samaritan law, and even the oaths that these hospital people swore by?

Finally, when they already got in, I saw a text message from Mike saying they followed me and was there at the parking lot waiting for me. We ended up buying pork barbecue and isaw in front of the hospital in lieu of the supposed Parajan dinner. We ended up taking our dinner and drove to the San Rafael access road and ate our dinner by the side street gutters.

It was one hell of a day, and if you have still not guessed which hospital it was with all the clues then ok, let me tell you. It was at the WVSU-Don Benito Hospital. Whew!