It will make no sense to, from the outset of this story, not condemn Dj Tell’s( a renowned radio presenter in Tamale) write-up that sought to generalize the level of negligence exhibited by some nurses in our hospitals. His comments were unfortunate and below the belt for a man of his calibre.
Having said that, let’s face the reality in his write-up. Some of our nurses don’t just have compassion for patients. They sometimes treat them ( patients) with disrespect, and with no sense of urgency (probably because they have seen many deaths to the extent that death doesn’t move them anymore).
Some of them make it seem illnesses have always been a choice ( Maybe our lifestyles may portray us to have brought illnesses upon ourselves, but the fact is that nobody chooses to be ill deliberately).
Sometime last year, my mum was very ill. She was referred to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital ( surgical medical emergency) for urgent treatment. It was then I thought I was seeing my mum for the last time. She was on oxygen, and each time she wailed for help and asked me to dash into the nurses room to prompt them, I was on each occasion treated with disdain. One of the nurses even asked: “Is your mum the first person to fall ill?” I looked on with rage, as if to deliver a punch on her face.
I quickly gathered the lost pieces of my self-respect,and called out again. They looked at me with disrespect, and Hell broke loose that I spoke into their faces. With so much anger and a deadly passion, they then responded to me in earnest( I was convinced that when you always take it easy on people, they will take you for granted; not an absolute rule,but works sometimes like in my case)
One of the nurses on duty followed me to check on my mum, by which time she had became stable.
The next day, she ( the nurse) removed the oxygen from her , by which time my mum’s breathing was a bit normal. It wasn’t long after the removal that she began to gasp for air again.
I quickly dashed into their office again and they rained insults on me. They said my mum wasn’t the only person the oxygen was meant for. I kept quiet. And finally retorted, ‘madam nurse, I am aware my mum is not on health insurance. I am also aware the oxygen cost 10 Ghana cedis per-hour, so in this case my dad will pay. Even if she will be on for 50 years, he will pay! It is not your money , it is our money! So you better do the needful!
They all looked into my face in silence only to say, ‘you think you have money or what?’ I retorted ‘it is not a question of whether I think I have money or not, it is a reality that my mum needs oxygen to survive now than anything else in this world! Then they left me standing there helpless, and I finally uttered some strong words: ‘if anything happens to my mum, God will pay you back in multiple folds!’
It was then they did the needful.
There were others facing similar challenges with these nurses, but could not put in a word or two for their patients. I was able to fight my way through to make sure my mum was given good care! I was widely known in that ward as a fighter. That didn’t come from the blues, I think I mustered such courage because I was reading Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, and I certainly fought for my mummy’s freedom from some negligent nurses, and the cold hands of death.
As I write, my mum is healthy, and kicking ( God did the magic)
Our nurses are good, they do some of the most important jobs in the hospitals, but some bad nuts are spoiling the shine of some good ones. The system has to be more ‘rigid’ to such wicked ones!
I am out.
Gombilla the Poet.