I rely on parents tremendously in pediatrics. They report symptoms of an illness and are usually heavily involved in the treatment plan.
This past week, I became more acquainted with Musafiri’s father. He is a 70 year-old, very forgetful man with significant vision difficulties. During Musafiri’s initial treatment, the father lost medicine twice, forgot to give medicine on a number of occasions, got lost in the hospital and repeatedly could not remember how to use the cell phone we purchased him.
On the second day in Kampala, I started to become strict with him. I mentioned that it was not acceptable that he lost medicine.
He responded in a very sweet manner “please be patient with me”.
I said “If you lose medicine for a healthy child with a cold, I will be patient with you. However, Musafiri is going to start some very important and strong medicines soon and we can make no mistakes. You are going to be the key in keeping him alive”.
My talk did not help. The father continued to make errors and each time stated, “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Lisa and I made the executive decision to replace Musafiri’s father as the caretaker. I met with the patient’s older sister-in-law this morning (I returned to Goma yesterday), we got her a passport and put her on the 1PM bus to Kampala. Lisa, who stayed in Uganda, will pick her up in the morning and give her a few days of orientation to the clinic and city.
I hope this improves care.