I try to be thankful that I am being trained in one of the better public hospitals. One of the public hospitals with greater than average resources. Lots of skilled professors. A regular supply of electricity and water. As South African public hospitals go, we are privileged.
And so I sometimes forget that it is not enough. I become complacent, and I almost think that this is good enough, that our patients should be grateful.
But it’s not.
It’s not okay that we cannot actively resuscitate every single patient, because we do not have enough ICU beds. It’s not okay that before intubating someone, we have to ask ourselves if this patient will recover, or if they will simply keep life-saving measures from other patients before finally giving up.
I don’t want to have to ration oxygen. Weeks ago, Medical Emergency was so full that two asthma patients had to share one oxygen port. Twenty minutes for one, then twenty minutes for the other.
It’s not okay, and I resent having to make such decisions. I resent our government, but I know that I probably don’t understand their position. Maybe (possibly, probably) they really are trying their darndest to supply the equipment we need. Maybe it’s just not enough.