“DO NOT DROP THE PATIENT!” by Zahal Levy – The expert opinion on Agerpres.ro – 18.11.2013

“DO NOT DROP THE PATIENT!” by Zahal Levy – The expert opinion on Agerpres.ro – 18.11.2013

I am referring to the recent news reporting the sad case of the dropping of a patient (Romania TV, Kanal D).

I could not ignore the chance to use phrases with double meanings that arise from this issue. Nothing could be more symbolic than the dropping of a patient from a stretcher. I would not use this platform to kick someone when they are already down, someone who, before any legal process has commenced, is already facing the nation as a consequence of the press coverage. Also it is not clear that the sad ending to the story (the death of the patient) was as a direct result of this event.

But anyway… An Ambulance came for help, and the crew (so we have been told) dropped him.

Indeed it is symbolic, I thought…  We all dropped the patient long ago, and not during an emergency. We dropped the patient when they had to share their bed with another patient, we dropped the one who had to beg for the warm and comforting hand of a nurse, and we dropped the dignity of the patient who was left in the corridor because there wasn’t enough available equipment to treat them. We also dropped the patients when they were refused medication and we dropped those who were sent home because their needed procedures, which could save their life, are not available in this country.

We dropped our mercy.

In a society that clearly has a tendency to ‘drop the patient on the floor’, we all have a moral obligation to speak out and help lift the current standards of available healthcare. Have we really become so blind and so indifferent to the suffering of those we should be protecting? Hospital and medical care was supposed to be a sanctuary for us at a time when we are vulnerable. What happened to us? How can we accept such a sharp drop in moral, ethical and rightful standards where healthcare is concerned?

The journey to heal the sick health system has not yet begun. This is because those of us who, through our tolerance, ’drop the patient’ and in so doing,  we legitimize and give life to the endless debate about the ’reform‘ of the health system… a reform that will never take place…the one that is “on the way – but which never arrives”.

If anything needs dropping, it is our approach and habit of remaining so indifferent to the suffering of people at the hands of the struggling medical institutions… or else one day we will wake up to find that it is one of us who has also been dropped.

The article was published on Agerpres.ro –  the expert opinion column