Some things are hard to believe

Yesterday, a two-month old girl was brought to the emergency room because she had become unresponsive. She had previously developed vomiting and fever, and was now severely dehydrated. We gave her fluids and quickly transferred her to the intensive care unit.

On arrival, we ordered antibiotics and a lab test. As usual, I said to the nurses, students and resident doctors, “antibiotics must be administered within 10 minutes and a hemoglobin drawn within 60”. I set the timer.

I then watched as the nurse spoke with the mother in a confrontational manner. Afterwards, she approached the team to say she would not give the medicine because the mother was extremely poor and could not afford the treatment. The mother actually began packing-up to leave with her dying child!

In a calm manner, I told the nurse that her job was to administer the medicine and not worry about finances. (However, I wanted to scream “Just give the f***ing medicine”, but that would not have been very professional.)

The nurse reluctantly complied with the order. Now, less than 24 hours later, the patient is nearly normal.


3 Responses to “Some things are hard to believe”

  1. James Pickard Says:

    This points to the question that has yet to be answered, “Is healthcare a right or a commodity?”

  2. Francisco Acosta Says:

    Great job boss in taking over!

  3. Alison Says:

    It’s amazing the things we take for granted that are simply not facts of life in other countries.

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