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Thursday, February 17, 2011
My Heart Melted and I Cried Again
This 2011 Medical Mission of Love is not different from the previous missions that Macrine and I had attended since 1998. More than six thousand of the poor and the needy from the distant barangays in the province of Marinduque lined patiently from 4 to 6 hours just to see A PHYSICIAN and obtained free medicines ( cough syrup, multivitamens, pain medications, anti-acids and maybe antibiotics) for their aches and pains true or imagined. At the end of the day in each town, there are always about 200 to 300 more patients that have to be sent home since we do not have enough physician volunteers this year. This is the same case in our HOSPITAL operations. This year we had only 3 surgeons and 1 anesthesiologist. Thus we have to send a lot of patients home along with their disappointment and hopes that maybe in our next mission, they can be accommodated.
A hospital case that touched my heart and that made me mad: A patient was already in the operating table after the preliminary tests had been done the day before was sent home because of one basic instrument not available. I heard from the surgeon who stayed at Chateau Du Mer, that instrument he needed for the operation is a basic instrument, but the hospital does not have one. So where is the priority of our provincial and health officials?
In Buenavista, I helped in the repacking area section of the Pharmacy Department. At about 2PM, there were still about 200 to 300 patients waiting in line. The patients were told to go home, since there already 200 in line ahead of them and our physicians will not be able to see them. However, about 100 did not go home in the hope that multi-vitamens and cough syrup, and Paracetamol will still be given to them at the end of the day.
One middle-aged woman with her 2 kids ( Ages 3 and 5)started begging to the two of us working in the repackaging area very closed to the lines. She said her 2 kids are coughing and had fever and asked us if we can give her Paracetamol and cough syrup. I looked at her and the two kids and my heart melted and I shed a tear or two.
I stood up, talked to the Pharmacist-in-Charge that day and she told me "NO". She told me that If the others in line saw me giving the drugs only to her, if might cause a RIOT. I whispered to the woman to wait until closing time. By 4:30PM there will still around 10 patients waiting. At around 5:00PM there were still a couple of patients hanging around. But, I called the woman aside, give her a bottle of Paracetamol;, cough syrup and multi-vitamens along with the usual instructions. She thanked me an gave me a SMILE that still lingers in my mind today.