07 August 2011

nearly three years behind

I should've written this a long time ago.

Back in 2008, December 30 to be exact, I almost died. It was a time when I wasn't living at home. I was staying over a friend's house and I guess, their carpet fibers triggered my dormant asthma. Their family was busy making preparations for New Year's Eve that I felt uncomfortable bothering them with the attack. I got into my car and decided to head to the hospital.

While I was driving though, I felt something different. Whenever I had asthma attacks before, it never came to the point wherein I felt my air passage literally being blocked. I got scared because I've never felt that way before with any of my asthma attacks. I usually just had difficulty in breathing, and wheezing but not to the point that I felt something blocking my throat/esophagus/tunnel where-air-comes-from. I was breathing through my nose but I still had difficulty breathing. I called my good friend Isa, who lived near where I was. I asked her if she could meet me and accompany me to the hospital, just in case I couldn't drive anymore. Yes, that was how scared I felt. We rushed into the ER of a hospital in Ortigas, and asked the security if I could just park in front of the ER because of my condition. Thank God for his kindness, he just asked me not to block the ER's entrance.

I brought out my health card (since it was the only thing I had, no cash then) and asked the nurse if they accepted health cards (I just assumed they did since it was a private hospital.) The nurse asked me to fill up a form and wait. After submitting my form, another nurse transferred me into a wheelchair and brought me in the ER proper.

That's where I almost died. 

A doctor interviewed me and asked what medicine I usually use for my attacks. I told her I had always used Ventolin. She asked if it was okay if they used a different Salbutamol solution. I said it was okay. As long as it was for asthma attacks, the brand didn't matter. After the interview, I waited for the nebulizer. I felt my air passage being blocked more and more. The block was rising every couple of minutes or so. An hour had passed, still no nebulizer. *For those of you who don't know, a nebulizer is like a little machine that releases oxygen. Only, it releases evaporated medicine, not oxygen. This smoke is then inhaled by the patient to relieve him or her of difficulty in breathing.

Isa was holding my hand, checking up on me every so often, asking if I could still handle it. With every question, I answered with okay. I could still manage to breathe somehow, it was my worry that when my air passage completely closes, I wouldn't know what to do, where to breathe. Time passed by again and I could feel my air passage completely closing. I was just praying then and hoping for a nurse, a doctor, to bring the nebulizer. Isa had already asked a nurse again, followed up on my nebulizer, to which the nurse told her to wait for a moment. Two hours had passed and I couldn't control myself any longer. Isa saw how pale I looked already and I pinched her, telling her I couldn't handle it any longer. Yes, the nebulizer still wasn't with us. Sas had followed up with nurses, doctors, anyone who passed by us, and the machine still wasn't there. After telling her how I couldn't feel any air coming from my throat anymore, she stood up and blocked a doctor who was walking our way and demanded that she bring the nebulizer right now. She "scolded" the doctor, telling her about my condition, and how she had asked different nurses and doctors already for the nebulizer in the last two hours, and that no one has bothered to bring it and check up on me. I've never seen Isa explode that way before but I was thankful. I couldn't get any air out of my mouth anymore and I was feeling weak. Just minutes after, a male nurse brought a nebulizer and attended to me. I WAS SO THANKFUL. I thought I was going to die that day, in that sad situation. 

After the treatment, I was so thankful that I could breathe again. That I could inhale and exhale freely again. But at the same time, I felt like a bomb ready to explode. What the hell were the nurses and doctors thinking? Attending to? The ER was quiet that night, no major emergency whatsoever and it took them TWO freaking hours to get me a nebulizer! What were they waiting for? For me to collapse from lack of oxygen?! I am thankful for their nebulizer but I am in no way, trusting them again with my life. Before I do again, they better review their ER SOPs. I am not putting my life on their hands again with that kind of service.

Fast forward to three years from then, why am I writing about this just now? I had already expressed my deep regret in choosing that hospital that fateful night to my closest friends after the Christmas break of 2008. But a recent event involving that same hospital, which cost the life of one of my dearest friends beloved, urged me to share my own experience. Three years may have passed but hearing about their lapse in judgement, their failure to adhere to SOPs (or maybe lack thereof) AGAIN, leading to the demise of someone I know, just bugged me into writing and sharing with everyone what happened to me because of the same thing. This is meant to inform people of how their service is, to hopefully reach their administrator so he/she can make changes about the way the hospital is run.

My friend's boyfriend died because the so-called doctors of The Medical City failed to give him the proper treatment. What was supposed to be a simple muscle tear turned into a tragic death because they did not know what they were doing. They misdiagnosed, giving different diagnoses, different treatments, until it was too late. One wrong medication, and his organs began to fail. From muscle tear to sepsis. Can you believe how a muscle tear cost someone their life? How one wrong prescription ended everything not just for him, but for his family, and my friend? And there were FIVE doctors, no, SPECIALISTS, SUPPOSEDLY diagnosing and treating my friend's boyfriend. Now, they are hiding everything behind paperwork. Words they told my friend and her boyfriend's family are suddenly hearsay. The paperwork says other things, things they did NOT say at all. OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKES. A hospital is not a playing field. You can't just go out there and experiment with people's lives.

I am no doctor but I do know that doctors are trained for years to make sure they do the right thing, leading to the right decision, hopefully, saving a life. Just like an architect, an engineer, a lawyer, there are basic routines, check lists, TTDs that are taught to them. The basics of any job. They study about it so they know what they must do when they are faced with the same or similar situation. There is no room for carelessness because they are dealing with lives. Next time, I hope they don't forget to go back to the basics.

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