Aunty Agba is light skinned like a yellow pawpaw. She twists her waist and goes up and down the hospital telling everyone about how unfortunate her husband was to have been involved in a car accident, as if the other people in the hospital came for a picnic.
They say the hospital’s X-ray machine is not working, so patients in need of it have to go outside the hospital to have ordinary X-rays done. Please help put Nigeria in prayers. Her condition is getting critical and tears cannot even be shed for her any more as everything is now scarce even our tears.
Anyway, back to my story. This Nigerian factor thing is a big headache, people are not even aware protocols exist. The average Nigerian is used to paying for contracts, paying to get licence, paying to get certificate and is not used to queues and waiting. The only waiting Nigerians do, is waiting on the Lord.
So because of protocol, doctors on duty have to inform their senior who would inform the consultant in charge who would then call the Chief Medical Director for permission to be granted for the patient to leave the hospital facility as he/she is already registered and cannot leave the hospital premises without due process. Unfortunately, you cannot bribe the doctor or bribe the security in this case so, here comes another waiting.
So when you tell them protocol it sounds alien to them, they cannot comprehend it, all they know is proceed.
Aunty Agba begins to rant on how we do not know who she is. The problem with medical practice’s ‘do no harm‘, even verbally makes us handicapped so we cannot ask ‘Who are you?’ Instead, we pacify her, although we are perfectly aware of who she is: a food seller at Ikeja under bridge. She has forgotten this was part of the history we took from her.
‘I will just take him away from here!’
Hello, take him where? You mean away from this tertiary institution to a much more expensive private hospital where you are at the risk of receiving sub-standard care?
Aunty Agba has also forgotten how she came in crying that we should help her as they were driven away from their referring centre due to inability to pay funds. So where would be cheaper than here?
Aunty Agba continues:
‘You people have been doing nothing. You’ll just come here check my husband, ask questions and go. Nobody is even taking care of him. Common X-ray he has not done.’
By the way, we are not the team that admitted, we have only come to take over management and we have been just a few hours in the know yet we had been on our toes trying to carry out her husband’s plan of management including the permission needed to go outside to do X-ray.
‘Madam, we understand how you feel, please understand that….’ Every team member tries to explain what is going on and the need for her to ask questions when she’s confused but she continues.
‘Nobody has even attended to us since we came, nobody has come to check us. My husband has just been lying there!’
It is at this point I want to say Eskuze me mah, action and reaction are equal and opposite. Please rewind as you haff say some seconds ago that we are just checking and checking. Fast forward now, you are saying nobody haff even check. Please ma, press replay.
Aunty continues, she tells us we are nothing so we cannot think of ourselves highly. Aunty is Agba so she knows better. Mind you, if we want to write general examination report for Aunty, we would write ‘Young woman’ (not middle aged, not elderly). Anyway, Aunty said we are too young to tell her anything. Then she points at one doctor and taps another who replies with
‘Please ma, with due respect don’t touch me. You can talk without hitting or touching me.’
‘You must be silly, see this small thing o. I would touch you anyhow I like and anywhere I like.’
‘Madam you have no right to touch anyone here,’ an older doctor interferes.
‘I can touch anybody I want to. I’m older than these things here, I would touch!’
It is at this point the senior doctor makes up his mind ‘Then we would not treat you again. I for one, take my hands off the management of your husband because you’ve been disrespectful. Whatever my colleagues like they can decide.’
The nurse on duty even tries to educate her on the dangers of her actions but she goes, ‘I would talk to them anyhow because they don’t know their job.’
You see Aunty Agba knows the job that is why she can even tell who does not know his job which is why she should continue the management of her husband. Everyone leaves. This is what we call handing over. Aunty has been handed over the management of her husband.
People tend to think as patients they can frustrate health workers. They can decide who should treat them, when and how especially in government hospital. They are not aware a doctor can refuse to treat a patient too.
So later Aunty comes to us and says,
‘Well done doctor. God bless you for all your help. God bless you.’ Then she leaves, comes again in another five minutes.
‘About the other time, sorry o. I did not understand’
So next time when we come around and speak with her she says,
‘Ha doctor who am I? I understand you, you are doing your job. Whatever you say I do. God bless you for all your effort.’