I’m struggling tonight. My heart is so heavy. This healthcare system is so broken. I know it’s no picnic in the states either. But currently, friends of a friend are sitting outside the hospital together while their baby, who has been in the ICU alone for weeks, is dying. Alone. The hospital won’t let even one parent in to be with the baby. Not because of covid. It’s like this in at least most, if not all, public hospitals. Baby needed a liver transplant. But no one in Guatemala can do that and the red tape to get anyone into the states for medical care is virtually impossible, even though the hospital in the states was willing to receive the baby. They looked into transferring to a private hospital. But the baby was too unstable and on top of it, the hospitals were requiring around $7000 to be paid in full, up front before they would accept the transfer. That is standard for private hospitals to not accept a patient until you pay up front.
Another family who takes in special needs kids and babies, many with terminal diagnoses, has one of their little ones in the ICU as well in severe respiratory distress. Thankfully, at least the mom can be with the baby. But because of covid, she’s not allowed to have anyone relieve her. You’re pretty much on your own. Most rooms that I’ve seen are just bare bones. You’re lucky if you get a flimsy plastic chair to sit on. You’re on your own for food, drink, toilet paper. So usually, family will bring that for you if they can.
A 16 year old fell out of a tree and has been bed bound with leg pain for the last 3 months. A witch doctor put pvc pipe around his leg to stabilize it at some point. Once receiving crutches today and after walking a bit, he was super short of breath, heart rate through the roof, coughing up pink tinged mucus, and oxygen levels dropped drastically. This family is dirt poor. Doesn’t have access to any resources. Now, missionaries are calling an ambulance and trying to figure out what hospital to take him too. Can’t just assume that any hospital will take him or give him even half quality care. Because of covid, hospitals are overrun, out of resources, denying patients left and right. It’s a privilege to receive healthcare. It’s not a right here.
Another family, who also takes in special needs kids, was to receive a one year old with severe lung issues. At the last minute, a judge decided to overturn the ruling and sent the child back to unfit parents, who have no access to medical care as well, rather than with a loving family who would fight for this child to receive the best possible care.
It’s exhausting. It makes me just want to start our own hospital and provide quality healthcare to those who can’t stick up for themselves, can’t advocate or don’t know what to advocate for, don’t have the medical background, or the attorney, or money behind it to force the health system to do what they are supposed to do to begin with. Where is the compassion? Where is the communication? Those parents are just as important as caring for the dying baby. It’s about complete care. But in an already broken system, that completely broke with a global pandemic, what little there may have been (I’m being generous saying there was any), it’s completely gone. Nonexistent.
Healthcare workers are exhausted. Globally, everyone is exhausted, burned out. The system here, especially in the public health system was already a “hot mess,” to put it nicely. They don’t have resources. They don’t have the up to date knowledge or equipment. They don’t have space. They don’t keep family members up to date or communicate with them. They don’t allow you to see your loved one. Many cases, you might as well say goodbye to your loved one when you send them to a public hospital. It could very well be the last time you see them. During the pandemic, they were so overworked and overrun, that at least some people who died from covid were getting buried before family even found out that they had died. There was talk of just making mass burial sites.
Could you imagine, calling, and calling, trying to find info about your spouse and you don’t get any answers, and then find out that they died a few days before, but no one had time to call you and tell you that? That’s happened here. Can you imagine being injured and needing surgery, but being told to go home and die because they can’t accept patients who don’t have covid? There’s no room. That’s happening here. Could you imagine not being with your baby in his last moments of life, and knowing that he’s dying alone? And not being able to see him at all for the last 2+ weeks? That’s what’s happening. It’s gut wrenching. It’s unacceptable. And honestly, it’s hard to see and listen to “first world problems.” People whining about wearing a piece of fabric across their nose and mouth when out in public, when the country they are in says it’s mandatory as a way to try whatever they can to keep as many out of the hospital as possible. People saying how this whole covid thing is just straight political and it would disappear once the US election was over. (Yes, I am fully aware that the media and politics ran with this whole thing. But it’s way more than that. This is a global medical crisis and not everyone has the luxury of having quality medical care at the snap of their fingers. And medical staff and essential workers are TIRED).
So, pray for the majority, who don’t have the money to go to private hospitals, and instead have no choice but to go to a public hospital. Pray for the families who are scared and left out of the loop as to what is going on with their loved one. Pray for those who can’t be with their dying baby at all, can’t even see him through a window, and feel so helpless, lost, and broken. Pray for the healthcare workers who are overworked and tired. Pray for those of us who are still out there fighting for those who are getting the raw end of the deal when it comes to the healthcare system. We’re tired too.