Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Mami fell and broke her foot a few weeks ago...and last Sunday she woke up feeling very sick. I went with a few people to take her to hospital because I wanted to be with her, but also because I was curious as to what it would look like here.
I observed things around me as we walked down the one hallway to the reception room where a man was lying on a bed with an IV in his arm. Everything was very dimly lit, an would never meet the stereotypical "clean, white" standards that are taken for granted in the US. As we waited for the doctor to enter information in her memo notebook that held the center's records, I looked around the room. Maybe 9 x 15 feet, it held a desk and two waiting chairs, as well as two hospital beds. Around the walls were various cupboards and small china cabinets that held boxes of needles and drugs. A plain-clothed nurse walked into the room and thew a used needle in to the open garbage can. A moment later my sister dug through the same garbage can to pull out a piece of paper with which to fan Mami. Various objects of equipment were scattered on the counter. I couldn't tell what all the arrangements were, but Mami was eventually wheeled down to a room where she was given an IV. A bedpan was given to me to take care of her if she needed it.
Some of these conditions seem strange and even shocking when contrasted with what I knew before, but they are just as normal here as clean hands and sterile conditions are in the States. I don't know if the Dominican Republic is considered a third world country by medical standards, but I know there are countless places around the world with even less in their than is here, and this hospital may be a luxury for them.

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