Does our healthcare system value everyone?



So yesterday I arrived home at about 7 pm, and found some neighbors looking at something that seemed like a framed photo.  I greeted them and walked on to start the journey to my new forth floor penthouse.

I churn out a few signature tunes  as I climb the fleet of uneven stairs. Those stairs seem like someone must have run out of cement just before finishing the top floor. So I stop the singing momentarily to catch my breath before going on. That tells me of the weight I have added since I graduated. I have always had these signature melodies that announce my arrival, and not once have I stopped to catch my breath.

So I reach my humble aboard, open my door still singing (I can’t recall which song). If you know me well, songs just come subconsciously and my vocals oblige. None of my neighbors have ever complained about it. I guess that’s why I have carried this habit. You see living alone can be a lonesome affair. You have to spice it up with something.

I open the door and right at my foot, I meet a white paper. Now who is this secret admirer? Imagine getting a love note dropped in your door. Just kidding. This was not a love note, this was a note informing the tenants of the demise of one of us.

He fell down about two months ago at work and injured his spine. Since the accident, he has been bleeding internally, so he was swollen. He had a clinic appointment every week being treated for the wrong thing. He was seeing the physiotherapist, yet he had internal  bleeding. Now that we have this background, let me begin my rant.

On Thursday last week, Kelvin Juma Wangila, went to Kenyatta National Hospital and stayed for two days waiting in line for admission. His family then took him to a smaller clinic because he was in so much pain. He died on the way. That is why my thoughtful neighbors organized for a meeting to contribute money so that we go condole with his family after the burial.

Now KNH has not been in the best of books. Earlier this month, an accident victim spent 18 hours in an ambulance because Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi claimed it did not have an ICU bed. Private hospitals would not admit him without a cash payment of Sh200,000.

I am outraged by this disregard of human life because I experienced the same treatment when my baby died. I was calling the nurse to come have a look at my crying baby who was obviously running out of breath. The male nurse very comfortably seated at the nurses station, was saying the same thing, “I am coming”. When my baby got worse, a doctor came to check on him. I remember her saying, “we can only wait for the morning, because the ICU is full”. She was talking to a colleague as they put drips on my baby.

Thirty minutes later, the situation got worse, and the male nurse instructed me to carry my baby and follow him. I removed my shoes, held the drip carefully and carried my baby to the room where he breathed his last. That was 13 years ago. This is 2015, and still the full ICU story exists.

My question, why the negligence? Does it mean that in our health care system, someone’s life is measured by the worth of his wallet? Just asking.

Image Credit


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