When The Boy was born, the standard of care that I, and many of the other mothers there, received was pretty abismal. After all he had developed an infection at 12 hours old and I followed suit after three days. Contrastingly, the medical attention that I saw exhibited by a different set of paediatricians and nurses, when he was rushed in at three weeks old, was second to none.
During my father's various hospitalisations for his cancers over the past three years, I've seen different levels of care, which is quite worrying on cancer wards. All cancer removed twice due to a brilliant surgeon and brilliant aftercare. Then three weeks into chemotheraphy he's rushed in with an infection in his PICC line, and DVT in his arm, because the district nurse didn't clean it properly.
Earlier today, I was sat in the outpatients department of a hospital waiting for my 2.30 appointment. One of the other patients (what an appropriate word) was still waiting to be seen from her allocated time of 1.30. I was finally called at 3.25, bizarrely, she was still sat there. The hospital wasn't my local hospital (trust me, this is a good thing); I battled to be seen there for eight long months for a second opinion as I didn't trust the first doctor!
This is all an aside to my main point. The corridors were full of chatting nurses and doctors walking around in a sedatory manner. I felt like grabbing one of them by the shoulders, showing them the over-crowded waiting room and shaking them into awareness. "Pull your finger out! Get a move on!"
Last night my poor five year old nephew had to go to the local Accident & Emergency department with a bad burn to his hand; a Pancake Day injury. My sister took him in at 7.30pm and he was finally seen by the doctor at midnight! That only happened because our mum went and asked the packed staffroom if someone would be tending to him soon.
Similarly, when my mother was taken in with a broken upper arm (falling off a 6 foot high ladder, the fool!), it was five hours before she was seen by a doctor, treated and discharged. Five long hours with minimal painkillers, whilst the staff stood around chatting about their shopping lists and nights out. At the age of 63, she was deemed too old to be operated on! The fractured elbow was missed and only diagnosed a month later. It was absolutely appalling treatment.
Need another example of shoddy work? Look at how Mammywoo's poorly son was treated.
I know that any public sector job is hard. I'm not in the medical profession (although my brother is a paramedic married to a nurse practitioner) but I know the grief that comes with being the front-line of working with the public. I am fully aware that the hours are long, the pay is far from compensatory for the workload and the recognition is non-existant.
But just what the hell is going on in hospitals nowadays? Why is the standard of care and attention so variable?