• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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BusinessDay

Doctors for sale

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The patient had been rushed in bleeding. While she was being prepared by the nurses for a check, the tall lanky doctor seemed uninterested, and nonplussed. He looked like he had been borrowed from a road side shop where he sold petty wares. Nothing showed him up as a doctor, not his dressing, not his demeanour. He went from being nonchalant to looking confused. He wore his gloves slowly with no urgency. The patient was on a stretcher with a threatened abortion.  She was crying and seemed distressed.  I was in one of our less endowed state capitals at a medical facility. I left because I understand the pain of losing a pregnancy having watched many young mothers in this situation in hospitals across the land. I also understand the seriousness of the health challenge. I was not sure if I could be responsible for my action if I continued to hang around  the doctor.

As an aside, I think more women should be encouraged to specialise in gynaecology for several reasons, one of the most important being empathy. Those who have babies understand it, those who aspire to have babies, empathise, those who have a similar physiology may sympathise more. But I digress.

Back to doctors, I come from a family of health personnel and I watched my mother, a midwife, a nurse and an administrator in the health sector later in life, rush out to save a life time and time again. Nothing was as important to her except perhaps her family and maybe her own health. Today everything is for sale including health care, human relations and service. It is distressing to watch some doctors at work these days.

The other day my mother-in-law took ill and we took her to a well-known hospital in Abuja. First it was difficult to get any attention. They all seemed to be busy doing nothing. There were very few patients and six doctors. They just all seemed to be walking around quite aimlessly. Finally a doctor deemed it fit to see her and prescribed some drugs. My brother-in-laws went out to buy the drugs. Within the hospital, it was out of stock, in neighbouring pharmacies, it was unavailable. They returned to the hospital and reported the challenge of getting the drug. Mr Doctor placed his hand casually in his pocket, brought out the sought after drug and announced it for twice the price. Another incident involved a co-sister-in-law who was having a baby in another hospital. She had been in labour for several hours before the doctors decided to perform a caesarean on her. By this time she was quite exhausted and would not have been fit to be put through surgery. My rudimentary knowledge of midwifery served me well. Unfortunately, the doctors seemed uncaring, laughing and not taking anything seriously. It was all I could do to stay sane when I arrived with Doctors looking like they had been drinking.  A man whose wife was in labour stood beside me shivering. Both the doctors and nurses treated him like an ex-con and advised him to go home and bring a receipt of a blood bank transaction without which his wife will not be attended to. He tried to explain to the doctor that his home was an hour away. Everybody simply walked past him while his wife groaned in pain. From what I gathered she was registered for ante-natal in this hospital. So what about her file?  Her groans unnerved me but rather than check her records, the staff couldn’t care less if she died. Being in labour without care is the worst thing that can happen to a woman and the rising cases of maternal mortality are scary with Nigeria having one of the world’s highest rates.

These days we have doctors involved in disgraceful baby factory tales nationwide. There is no doubt that abortion, deliveries, monitoring, ante-natal and post natal care are carried out in these dehumanising places by medical doctors who provide the professional arm of things for a fee. The depravity of those involved in these acts is hard to fathom. It’s even harder to know that those with responsibility for protecting lives are engaged in negatively affecting the human condition and perpetrating evil, fraud and sheer wickedness. Some of the girls are abducted and kept in dungeon like places for purposes of commercial procreation.

In the past being a doctor was one of the most revered professions. Lifesaving men and women, whose skills, whose love, whose care, whose knowledge impressed us so much, all parents wanted their children to become doctors.

Today there are a lot of doctors who defile the profession and there are lots of fakes especially in the rural areas where health services are virtually non-existent or in some cases left in the hands of shady private sector practioners.

This is a call to the Nigeria medical association and Health regulatory bodies to flush out bad eggs and save our citizens from strange doctors for sale; doctors who give false medical records, doctors for whom the Hippocratic Oath is meaningless.

By: Eugenia Abu