Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Sense of Dignity

Dignity...a sense of pride and self-respect; a condition of being worthy of respect, esteem and honor.

I have been in this hospital for two years now...no make it three if i would include my internship here. For three years, i have been exposed to the harsh realities of life. This exposure would either crush or lift my spirit up...depending on my hormonal status (now im blaming my pms again). Who would imagine that this institution, located almost in the heart of the city, is a jungle? A jungle where survival of the fittest is the mantra. Our patients are all sick alright, but what i mean is that financially and emotionally, these patients of ours must equip themselves with these necessities in order to survive.

If i were to define dignity the way encarta would have it, this "necessity" would be the sparsest in our hospital. Not to include my patients who are financially incapacitated, majority of our patients lack dignity...a sense of self-worth. Picture this out...people from the marginalized areas of our province rushing to our hospital to seek medical care. As doctors, this we could provide. How about the medical facilities that are essential for our treatment? Medications, intravenous solutions and yep! even just a warm hospital bed? Truth is, they are very scarce compared with the number of admissions that we have everyday.

If these patients of ours were living in a shanty or in the sidewalks maybe, i am thinking that these people being sick, needs comfort to ease their physical illness. What comfort can you get however from sleeping in a cardboard box? Worse if they are located in the alleys where people walk to and fro. Yep! We examine patients kneeling and everytime i do this, my heart bleeds. Where's privacy? Where's dignity? If these patients are dying, dont they deserve a more decent death?

What's even worse is that the hospital administrators dont seem to observe this. They are too absorbed in their own issues. Fighting for position and popularity is all that they do. Stone throwing is their expertise. This hospital is a miniature Philippines. Those in power arent aware of the number of people who are hungry and are dying.

I feel for my patients. This could also be my reason for staying here. If i am having a hormonal surge, i would be in a depressed mode. Now that pms havent visited me yet, im looking at things on a brighter light. If the administration couldnt do its part well, as a doctor, who comes in contact with the patients everyday, i could do something for them. Not only can i give them the best that i could offer in treating them, but i could also provide them a sense of dignity that nature deprived them of.

A condition of being worthy of respect, esteem and honor, dignity's other definition. They may be sleeping in cardboard boxes, deprived of money, family support and dying. Dignity i guess is not self-generated. It's freely given. Now i realize why these patients of ours could survive sleeping in cartons. For themselves, they may lack self-worth. With the way we treat and look at them however, you know, human beings who deserve every respect we could give, we rekindle the little that they possess. Believe me...a touch of care and the respect that we give them are also vital in their healing. This i could proudly say is never scarce for they're freely given by the men and women doctors of our hospital. Now, i'm not plugging...I don't need to plug for patient's kept on coming. Yep! Equipped with cardboard boxes or folding beds!

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