Threatened By The People We Serve

A few weeks ago, the community around one of the hospitals where I work picked up their torches and pitchforks (well, sort of) and protested again. I’ve written before about South Africa’s protest state of mind, and about working during a riot.

As it stands, when this specific community protests, they protest right outside the hospital. No matter the reason for protesting, they block all entrances to the hospital and threaten anybody who tries to circumvent them.


Police told us to turn around. We called our superiors. They told us to come to work. Continue reading “Threatened By The People We Serve”

On Call During A Riot

Last night while on call I treated rubber bullet injuries.

I treated MANY rubber bullet injuries.

If you thought rubber bullets only cause bruising – well, you’d be wrong. They can penetrate. During my fourth year forensic pathology rotation, we did an autopsy on a man who died due to a rubber bullet embolism.  Continue reading “On Call During A Riot”

Medicine, Bureaucracy, Press Freedom*

The latest fun development in the South African Health Care Sector (source):

Yesterday, the HoDs at the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex called a press conference. They declared that it was not possible for them to work in their understaffed, under-equipped states. I can vouch for this. Too few RNs, too few security guards and not nearly enough basic clinical equipment. Or enough beds for that matter.

They declared that only the emergency departments would be working full-time, and clinic-time would be restricted. I suppose at least they are not denying emergency care. But is it really ethical to restrict clinic care, when that includes ensuring that chronic diseases are adequately managed (or detected, for that matter), so that they don’t become life-threatening?

Continue reading “Medicine, Bureaucracy, Press Freedom*”

Protesting on campus

Tygerberg Campus is not the most politically active campus in South Africa.

Earlier this year, the student council organised something called “courageous conversations” in order to address concerns about homophobia on campus [courageous conversations can address any issues, though]. The audience consisted almost solely of the student council and the media.

This campus is one of the only university campuses in South Africa where the election of student government is not influenced by national politics; where a candidate’s political views will not affect the elections.

Continue reading “Protesting on campus”