This is rather jolting – one of the country’s oldest medical institutions, and well respected until now, doled out to more than 40 of its dialysis patients this wonderful Christmas gift—NO MONEY, NO DIALYSIS. This was because they were all government-assisted patients and the authorities owed the centre substantial sums.
The institution had dealt with government for many years, in fact according to the Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh in the past three years the centre had submitted bills to the tune of $30 million. To satisfy all private medical institutions they would pay a portion of the outstanding amount. But Medicorp said no, they want all.
Now we all understand we live in dire economic times. But the treatment is in most cases a life-or-death situation and the patients are unable pay for their treatment. It costs $1,200 per treatment. The government pays two thirds and a third is paid by the patient.
How’s that for persons seeking renal help and at Christmas time at that! That’s abominable! Christmas time, as it has traditionally been known, is a time of giving and generously so. But the principals at Medicorp, instead of giving are taking away. That’s not in keeping with the season.
You might have problems with the government, but you certainly cannot allow the patients to become victims of your materialism. I ask where is your spirit of helping? Where’s your spirit of giving? Where’s your spirit of mercy? Where’s your spirit of Christmas? It seems totally absent. Is it that unadulterated materialism has taken over? Is it that the almighty dollar has conquered?
Remember when doctors took the Hippocratic Oath before entering such a noble profession? That seems to have gone out the window! Maybe its new name could be the hypocritic oath!
I wonder if I can plead with Medicorp to relent and make Christmas what it is really meant to be—a time of the year when charity reigns and brings joy to so many hearts in so many families. Is it not worth thinking about?
And we have precedent for such goodwill because Dr Bhola and his team completed 25 cataract operations—all free of charge to very worthy cases—at a total of $250,000. Next year the plan is to do two free sessions, in July, then in December. Kudos to the team who is living the spirit.
Funny how this issue has surfaced. It was just a few weeks ago at a Fatima (Decade 2) Old Boys’ luncheon, a member was sharing a serious health episode in his life. He had a prostate problem and after several private consultations with medical personnel, he was told that surgery was the only option.
He began the process of finding out the cost for the entire procedure at a private facility, and found that all the preliminaries amounted to $90,000. The doctor’s fees still had to be added. It was obvious he could not go through with the surgery. He is a pensioner. He took up the matter with doctors at a public hospital, got through and is now well again. Cost to the government: $14,000.
The question is: When does life matter, when you are old and poor or when you are rich? Maybe we can ponder this question and see who is materialistic and who remains humble and caring, remembering that we are only ‘passing through’.
It would be remiss of me to allow the reason for the season, the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to pass without extending to all readers a holy and peaceful Christmas with all the attendant joy. Merry Christmas!