“Doctor, nurse, please help me. A casualty, a stretcher, a stretcher, a stretcher, please. Save this life, please. Be fast!” Imagine this scenario in your mind’s eyes and hear this reverberating shout and plea for help. A priceless life is seriously at stake! Put yourself in the shoes of the individual crying and pleading for help. The very next move will either resuscitate or kill the casualty. All of a sudden, the next words you hear with a stern voice are: “Yes? Can we help you? You’ve got no patient card. Purchase it with N 5,000 first. Pay N 3,000 for consultation fee, then, we will check if the doctor is available to attend to the casualty. Got that?”
Ill-mannered, harsh, wicked are few out of the numerous adjectives you would qualify the nurse with. You would feel withdrawn, shocked, speechless and dejected. Anger flares up in you and you feel like strangling the nurse or whoever it happens to be to death. Tears fill your eyes and roll down your cheeks as you look at the innocent face of the casualty, perhaps your mum, dad, sibling, only child, lovely husband, beautiful wife; you feel his/her heartbeat as it gradually reduces, the pulse as it stops bit by bit, as the individual gasps for breath, as he suddenly slumps and dies, eyes wide open. You cannot hold it any longer, but you wail and groan. You curse the nurses, the doctor, the hospital, the country, everything in sight. A life has been lost carelessly. A careless death!
At other instances, there might be a midnight emergency. On rushing the casualty to the hospital, the doctor in charge receives the individual into his custody and care, selfishly hands over the patient to the sluggish, careless and inexperienced nurses. “Nurse, where is the doctor I just saw now? The issue is getting complicated and you are here administering drips and injections continuously. Besides, the weather is cold, his temperature is changing drastically, his vein is swelling and the drip is dropping so fast. Oh my God, please call the doctor for me, please!” You get this response: “What do you mean by that? So, I am wasting my time here, right? Didn’t you notice the pain and long minutes it took me to get this single vein? That’s okay, you take care of him then, nonsense!” The door bangs loud behind the nurse.
As a novice, you look round the walls of the hospital ward room, head blank. What do you do next, if not to call out for their help. Afterall, what matters is for your loved one’s life to be saved. Almost at once, his eyes start blinking, his chest thumping, he is seriously gasping for breath, on the verge of dying. A thin line between life and death emerges. “Please, come to my rescue, please, please, please, he is dying.” The door flips open. “Stand up and get out. Go, go, go, can’t you see he is dead?” A life has been lost carelessly. A careless death! These and similar cases account for more than one-third of the deaths recorded today. If it’s not a direct experience, definitely, people around us have undergone it. It seems to be the order of the day. The situation is living right among us.
Additionally, cases of wrong prescription and administration of medicine and unsuitable dosage of injection by medical practitioners unfortunately, cause a reasonable amount of deaths today. Hence, this must be put on check. Medical practitioners must view lives as precious and be competent enough to apply professionalism in their calling of saving lives.
These call for a renewal of commitment and pledge of service on the part of all medical practitioners. How do you feel if there is a report of a death in your hospital? If confronted, your response is: “It was a mysterious death, we didn’t expect it either, a mystery it was. Accept our sympathy.” But come to think of it, was there actually something- an act, however insignificant- you should have implemented to save this lost life?, perhaps, your presence, your prayers, your devotion? Think about it. Dedication, selfless service, love, total care and attention must be imbibed into our medical culture now! Let’s save lives!