Emergency Room 101

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Friday, February 21, 2014

IF ANYONW wants to know the real score of the real state of our un-health, I would suggest the best place would be the 24-hour service of the Emergency Room of a large public hospital. It?s there that one?s question about public health is immediately answered by what one sees, hears, and smells.

My own experience was not even an emergency situation when a family member had to be confined at the public hospital to avail of at least an “affordable health service,” something that each of us citizens are entitled to, being consistent taxpayers that we are. Though I have initially braced myself for what to expect upon setting foot on the entrance of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), my eight hours wait provided me the information that can fill a lifetime.

At a glance, one can see a state of the art set of structures that give one a mistaken notion of a certain degree of sophistication. Indeed, many would say that what used to be as the poorly-equipped Davao Medical Centre has metamorphosed into one of the “best” in terms of health facilities in the region. Until, one experiences what’s inside.


The most glaring of course is the glut of human needs for health care, as the seemingly non-stop inflow of sick people constantly floods the emergency room, filling it to the rafters, and the dearth of health personnel to address the needed immediate attention.

As I watched perplexed at the speed by which ambulance after ambulance ploughed into the narrow entrance of the emergency room, a kind of despair slowly crept into me. How can this be possible? But it?s there right before my eyes, and seemingly, over a hundred people, the sick and the dying are helplessly crammed over a space that is supposed to accommodate not more than 20 sick people at a given time.

The sight indeed can be overwhelming, especially because there are many children mixed with adults whose health conditions could have been dangerous for the very young children. But what can an ill-equipped with human resource health facility do to save the day but push the human limits of its health practitioners and personnel to accommodate humanity.

Earlier on, a news service lamented thus: “Despite the progress cited by President Benigno Aquino III in previous State of the Nation Addresses (SONAs), the country’s public healthcare system is marred with problems. The lack of health personnel, the absence of adequate facilities, and the remaining barriers for the poor to access health care are just some of these problems.”

“According to the 2012 Philippines Health Service Delivery Profile, a collaboration between the DOH and the World Health Organization (WHO), only 4 of the country’s 17 regions meet the acceptable hospital bed to population ratio.”

So what can taxpayers expect from the government to address this situation? If poverty is to be assessed in this country, one only needs to look into the health situation of its people to be given the sneak preview of how desperate and ailing the nation is. With the way things are going now, the brighter future will have to wait for Filipinos even if the proposed 2014 budget by the Aquino administration, which is 87.1 billion allocated for the DOH is said to be 50 percent higher than that in 2013

Meanwhile, the old ways in government continues long after it has been declared changed.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 22, 2014.


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