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Long queues at St Luke’s Hospital emergency ward - Malta independent - 2/8/2004

http://www.independent.com.mt/daily/newsview.asp?id=26710

Long queues at St Luke’s Hospital emergency ward

Juan Ameen

On Friday evening I was walking down a street when I fell heavily on my left knee and twisted my right ankle in the process. So far, nothing out of the ordinary, especially since I seem to have a knack of tripping over my own feet. However, this time my feet had nothing to do with it. The broken pavement and patched up road were the reason I fell. The result was a bleeding and swollen knee.

After vainly trying to reassure my friends that I was fine, I was taken to the Gzira health centre, where the doctor on duty told me that I needed to have my knee X-rayed at St Luke’s Hospital, in case the knee cap was broken. The nurse bandaged my knee and we left the health centre at 11.55pm.

Once at St Luke’s, I was seen to almost immediately by the nurse who asked me to remove the dressing and told me to wait until I was called.

Friday is considered a busy night. In fact there was a constant trickle of people coming in with one ailment or another. Some caught my eye: a little girl with a swollen arm cuddled by her father, a 16-year-old French student who couldn’t stand up because he was so weak, an old woman with an extremely swollen right leg accompanied by her daughter.

It is not easy for the doctors and hospital staff. Apart from the fact that it is a night shift with a huge overload of cases, they are also heavily understaffed. They carry out their duty to the best of their abilities, and I was honestly impressed by their kindness and professional attitude. However the wait was not easy either. Once you start moving from one waiting room to another, you begin to recognise the familiar faces of patients who were called in before you.

One hears many stories about patients who grumble and make a fuss about the delay. In my case, we were all too tired to say or do anything, most of us weren’t in a condition to do so anyway. The young children fell asleep in their parents’ arms, the old people sat patiently in the wheelchairs with their worried looking children watching over them.

At four in the morning, I was sent home with a badly bruised knee, but nothing more serious. Although the majority of the complaints one hears about hospital and its services are about the staff, one should keep in mind that changes for the better usually come from above and not below.






 
 
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