By Mia Bullock
On Friday, Oct. 2, my sister fainted while at school. She was rushed to the family’s private doctor where she was examined. The doctor said that she looked pale and that her blood might have been low and recommended that she take “Feroglobin” (a blood tonic). He also advised that at a time like this, we should not rule out the possibility of dengue, in light of the outbreak in the country.
Over the weekend, she was given the tonic and I thought I saw signs of improvement, so she was allowed to go to school on Oct. 5, 2020. To our surprise, she did not make it to school as she was feeling extremely unwell and returned home. She complained of headaches, joint pain, thirst, fever, dizziness and eye pain.
On Oct. 6, she said she was feeling well enough to go to school and she seemed to be doing okay so we (the family) let her go. At around 10 a.m., a phone call was received from the school to pick her up stating that she had passed out again and is not doing well.
On Oct. 7, we took her to the district doctor and told him what had happened with the fainting, ongoing headaches, occasional fever and so on. He examined her and she was given paracetamol for the pain and fever. When asked if she can continue taking the Feroglobin or upgrade to “Trihemic” as the Feroglobin took longer to build blood, the doctor said to refrain from taking any supplements for blood until the test results came back. He had ordered a complete blood count (CBC) test to be done.
The test was done on Oct. 8.
The results were picked up on Oct. 9. However, where we are living, at Sandy Bay, the district doctor day is on only Wednesdays. This meant that we had to wait until Oct. 14 before we could see the doctor again. I read the results. The CBC test came back negative. My sister was still experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms from time to time. Throughout the duration of this, she claimed to be getting better and then feeling unwell again.
On Oct. 12, Oct. 13,Oct. 14, she was allowed to go school.
When she got home on Wednesday, Oct. 14, she had the worst fever since she had initially began feeling unwell. My sister was burning up. She was even unable to sleep that night. Her mother had to stay up and monitor her while very frequently placing and changing a cold, wet towel on her forehead, neck and underarms. This caused a scare, which led to us taking her to the district clinic in Overland, where the doctor was in attendance the next day, Oct. 15.
The results from the CBC Blood test were taken to him. He reviewed it and deemed everything was normal and that if she had had dengue, it would have already been out of her system, as five days has already passed. As a concerned adult and an aspiring medical professional, you know when something is wrong. It just was not making any sense. If everything is normal and so well, then why was the child having such high fever, severe headaches and dizziness? How could you put a time limit on sickness?
The doctor urged us to continue taking paracetamol, which, by the way, the clinic ran out of. I had to plead with the doctor and beg like a dog for my sister to get the order for the dengue test written up so that the test can be done at the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre (MMDC) in Georgetown. He eventually decided that he would allow her to take the test after I did not back down in begging him. He also ordered for her to do a second CBC test.
The CBC test was done the same day but the medical personnel at the MMDC said that the doctor was supposed to fill out an additional form for the child to get the dengue test done. She did not do the dengue test that day.
The results for the second CBC test was picked up on Oct. 19. I read the results like I usually do. This time, the blood test results was positive. The child’s blood levels, even the platelets, had fallen drastically within one week. Yet, the doctor thought within himself that it was too much to allow the child to have the dengue test done or even order another CBC test to be done.
On Oct. 21, the results of the second CBC test were taken for review along with the form to be filled out by the do tor for the specific dengue test from MMDC. He was astonished at the results of the second CBC test presented before him.
Now, the reason for me writing this article is to bring awareness to the levels of negligence being handed down to the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines when accessing the healthcare system. This is specially to shed light on those who are being affected but do not have a voice of their own. I speak for the elderly and for those who have trouble deciphering information such as what is listed on test results.
Why should we as citizens have to beg to get the necessary and basic healthcare service such as doing a simple test? During an epidemic, why are the clinics running out of basic medication such as paracetamol? The clinic did not even have prescription papers or lab test papers. Why do we have to go through all this back and forth just to get medical testing done during an outbreak? Who is looking into these matters? Or are we suppose just overlook them and go about our day? Had it not been for prior knowledge, my sister would have been in critical conditions today. Why should we have to beg and plead with medical personnel to do their jobs?
Because of the doctor attitude to my sister’s symptoms, it could have been a different outcome for her. Imagine having to spend an entire month running up and down just to get one simple test done. Mind you, she is a school child, therefore, all this time spent chasing substandard medical attention, she was missing out on schoolwork. Is this the kind of treatment we deserve? I highly disagree. Put yourself in the position of the elderly who does not have assistance or of those who cannot decipher that medical information and has to take somebody else’s word for it or even put yourself in the position of coming from a disadvantaged household then you would understand what it feels like. After reading this article, decide if this is how you want to be treated. Is this system sufficient for you?
As mentioned before, I merely wrote to bring awareness to the mediocre, appalling conditions faced by citizens when accessing the public healthcare system, specifically those persons in the rural communities, Over The River (North of the Rabacca Dry River). I intend for this to bring about a positive change going forward. Thank you.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].