By Khalid Majhad
By Khalid Majhad
Morocco World News
Khouribga, September 2, 2012
The concept basically associated with the word ‘hospital’, as a mental picture of somewhere people receive medical care and treatment, is not always matched in Moroccan reality, or at least in the public hospital in my hometown, Khouribga (south of Casablanca)- so as not to perhaps unfairly generalize.
Even graver than the original pain you are heading there to heal is the series of emotional setbacks that start looming ahead of you right at the gate as you glimpse a preview of the ordeal that awaits you and the sheer crowd already defeated in the agonizing queue. The urgency of your case does not earn you an earlier turn to see the doctor who hardly ever kindly shows uponly two hours later than he or she should, expect a longer wait if he or she luckily does. However, the upside of this hospital is that in the absence of a doctor, you will always find deputies- cleaning ladies or security men-who will, to their credit, as they have been told grant you an appointment after two months, indifferent to your frail looks that attest to your inability to resist for another day.
It is commonplace that public hospitals are mainly kept for the needy whose tiny incomes do not qualify them for luxurious hospitalization in one of those health enterprises, but ironically the cost often ends up the same as you would have to buy most of the tools necessary for the check-up or the surgery, including the thread for stitching. Besides, some doctors in the hospital in view have made it a tradition that after and maybe before each surgery the patient has to pay what they phrase as ‘the scalpel due” meaning some amount of money as a payment for their effort despite the fact that they are paid generously in advance by the state.
Another instance that contradicts our conception of what the public hospital looks like is the cold reaction of the medical staff in the event of an insurmountably urgent medical case. The public ambulance that is there to transport the patient to Casablanca’s better equipped hospital is out of order or so made to benefit a private ambulance owner who is already promising tips for each similar deal.
I fervently hope that these lines will serve a shake-up in that vital space whose services we value greatly despite its shortcomings. Finally, I would like to thank the minority of committed doctors, nurses and paramedics whom I have witnessed constitute the exception in sustaining people’s confidence in the public hospital.