@DarAlShifa Redefining the Meaning of “Emergency”

Emergency, as defined by Oxford’s English Dictionary:

noun (plural emergencies)

a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action:personal alarms for use in an emergency[mass noun]:survival packs were carried in case of emergency

[as modifier] arising from or used in an emergency:an emergency exit

a person with a medical condition requiring immediate treatment:the hospital treated two hundred emergencies

North American the department in a hospital which provides immediate treatment:a doctor in emergency cleaned the wound

Years of watching Medical Drama’s has made one a bit reluctant to deem themselves emergency cases, lest they be standing in the hospital entrance with a bullet wound or a steel pipe protruding from any region of their anatomy (hopefully not connecting them to another human being).

Hands that Care?

This was my understanding of the term emergency until I had the misfortune of needing to visit Dar Al Shifa in Hawally for a cure to my prolonged battle with the seasonal flu virus.

We have all been there; dry cough, sore throat, popping ears, runny/stuffed nose and an overall sense of displeasure quite often felt by those wondering whether the world has suddenly come to an end. The worst part of being sick is that you start missing things you took for granted, such as the ability to breathe through your nostrils.

So there I was, in desperate need of medicine to make the pain go away, so I decided to pay a visit to Dar Al Shifa. Now previously (on many occasions) I merely walked into Dar Al Shifa (comfortably located within walking distance from my abode), showed my Medical Insurance & Civil ID at the front desk of the ENT Dept (Ear, Nose and Throat for the medically non-savvy) and was given a number and asked to wait patiently.

Now however, the rules had changed. The highly paid Consultant Doctors at the hospital will only see patients that have appointments during hospital hours. Despite the waiting area being completely barren and the clock showing that the good Doctors still had a few hours before punch-out.

Usually the receptionist would call the hospital on their ground line (a very strange procedure), give you the phone and ask you to speak to the receptionist in charge of reservations, as opposed to simply  saying “please call to make an appointment”, almost lackadaisically, and smiling at you as if your conversation is over.

Dar Al Shifa Hospital

I was told that if I needed immediate medical attention, I would have to visit the emergency ward, completely shattering the image I had of emergency wards being where life-or-death cases crawled in on hand and foot begging for medical attention. Here I was, a grown man with a relatively difficult bout of flu, traipsing into the emergency ward, much like a drug addict, in search of a quick fix to cure the itch.

So not the kind of treatment you would expect, especially from Doctors that charge you out of the wazoo for a quick 5-minute diagnosis followed by scribbling of medicines on a piece of paper that you take to the Pharmacy, the true heroes in the hospital as they alone are able to decipher the scribbles on said piece of paper and produce the required medicines that will make the pain go away.

Here is hoping that one can walk into a hospital, where they treat illnesses, whenever they feel ill or weary, and get the medical attention they require (and pay for it mind you) without the need to jump through unnecessary bureaucracy.

You make a reservation at a hotel, or with a doctor for a check-up, you do not make a reservation when in need of medical attention.

If it is any consolation, the Doctors at the emergency ward were ever so sweet and caring, they even had a continuum with smiley faces on the sheet they filled out with your ailments (I was Face No. 2 – smiling but sickly)

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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