Doctors and nurses go to work everyday to save lives. Sometimes at the risk of their own lives. Each day we try to do the best we can in all honesty. There are times we win, and all is well. There are times we lose, and hell breaks loose.
Patients suffer. Relatives suffer. We suffer.
Each day we get up, again, and return to the battle ground hoping to save another human being, one life at a time. We face criticisms by relatives for things we do and things we didn’t do. Some come and try to teach you the job and profess they can do it better than you. If you listen to them and things go right, they claim the price. If things go wrong, you are the doctor and you should know better!
So, you learn. You get better. You get more wins and lose less. You save more patients.
Nurses were recently beaten up by relatives because a patient died. Two Nigerian nurses were attacked by the family of a deceased COVID-19 patient. One nurse had her hair ripped out and suffered a fracture. The second was beaten into a coma. This happened at Federal Medical Centre, Owo. Associated Press further reported that about 400 of those attacks were related to COVID-19, many motivated by fear or frustration, underscoring the dangers surrounding health care workers at a time when they are needed most.
The fact though is that some illnesses are self-inflicted and eminently preventable.
Let us stick with the pandemic for a moment. Wearing a facemask, hand washing frequently, and social distancing helps but many people are blasé about it. They travel, go to churches and mosques and even to nightclubs. Then they call the doctor, asking if they can come and see you. They are feeling a little under the weather. One even had the gall to ask me if I believed in this Corona virus thing.
It has killed 4 doctor friends of mine who answered such a call.
The Corona virus has killed more healthcare practitioners than we care to name. Doctors For Change (DFC) is planning to honour our fallen heroes and immortalize their names and sacrifices. The Nigerian Government could not care less. The same government that has disemboweled the health care sector and malnourished health care workers now plans to vaccinate politicians before doctors.
‘’On Monday March 8th, 2021, more vaccination sites would have been set up at designated locations such as National Assembly clinic, State House clinic and Federal medical centre, Jabi where strategic leaders such as the SGF, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, the Ministers and Ministers of States, Senators, House of Representatives, traditional leaders and religious leaders would be vaccinated’’.
Of course, this is Nigeria and by the time the politicians and government officials have finished vaccinating their wives and concubines, what is left would have melted in the Abuja sun.
I am just constantly amazed that there is no one fighting for doctors and nurses’ rights. Not the Medical and Dental Council or the Nigerian Medical Association. Not the Nurses and Midwives Association. Or even the bad boy, JOHESU! All the usual suspects are cowed and silent in the face of blatant oppression by the political class. Yet, we treat these people. We keep them alive and well. We stare death in the face for them.
We stare down death just for you!
So, my challenge is for all health care leaders. Please stop squabbling about other mundane stuff. This is the most important assignment for now and calls for unison. The government is ready to kick you in the teeth and make your teeth fall out. They will then pick them up and ask you to swallow them.
I am hopeful you will not choke!