There’s a story I tell hopefuls wishing to run for student government. Near the end of 2011 I was elected as chairperson of my med school’s student government. I had made big promises during my campaign and so the first thing I did was (try to) get a meeting with the CEO of our training hospital. Of course, I was told by the gatekeeper’s that a puny little med student can’t just get a meeting with the big important man so instead I had to meet with a faculty member and tell her why I wanted to meet with the CEO and she would decide if I was worthy. (RED TAPE! WOO-HOO!)
One of my big points was safety of students in hospital. I said we wanted radical changes made that would ensure better safety for students at all hours of the day. I thought it laughable that such a massive hospital in a dangerous part of the city had so few safety measures. But this was not deemed important enough. More insultingly, the faculty member did not accept it as a valid point at all. The response, and I quote this verbatim (I still have the minutes of that awful meeting) was, “We have never had any complaints about this, so we will not be putting such measures in place.”
I was fuming. For one, the fact that nobody had complained did not mean that there weren’t any problems. Our campus is notoriously apolitical, and also notorious for not heeding students’ complaints. But for another, when has the fact that something presumably had not yet happened an acceptable excuse to MEDICAL DOCTORS?! Is our maxim not that PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE?!
Well, not even a year later a final year student in the exact hospital was attacked. Then all of a sudden they wanted to put in place safety measures. Not very good measures, I can attest to that.
And recently, safety in these same hospitals has become a matter of national media coverage. Earlier this month, The Sunday Times reported about the unsafe conditions, and today Die Burger had a similar report (you’ll need Google Translate for the latter article).
And yeah. I’m PISSED OFF. I’m angry that it has taken all this time for the matter to be considered important. And I’m angry that when a “little medical student” pointed out the problem THREE YEARS AGO it wasn’t deemed important enough.
I HATE the bureaucracy in the healthcare sector and I hate that so little action is taken to make our professions safer. I hate the expectation that we will suffer in silence and be all stoic and CRAP.
I’m over it. I am just so over it. And don’t even tell me that I should go into the policy side of things and be the one to fix it because I am terrified of becoming like them.