The hospitals here in Al Ain are plain weird. It is difficult to locate the appropriate outpatients desk and then once you get there, you don't know what to do. Should you queue up? Should you go straight to a desk where people seem intent on ignoring you? What are the procedures? Should you let your spouse keel over and die while staff happily ignore you both? I decided against the latter and insisted on getting some attention. My spouse was quickly seated while I was sent to the other end of the hospital to register. Once I'd registered, I had to make a point of asking what we had to do next, because I wasn't told. Armed with the appropriate information, K and I went to the nurses' desk and again I had to let it be known that we needed to see a doctor quickly.
Saturday, I have to tell you, is not a good day to get sick as the hospital has a lot in common with the Japanese subway where they have staff employed to stuff half a dozen more people into the already overcrowded carriages!
We soon jumped the queues and got to see a nurse who wired K up to a machine and then attempted to administer some oxygen. Unfortunately the oxygen cylinder was empty, so an orderly was quickly called to bring in a new one. The new one was wired up and the mask was put over K's face. With his entire body pinioned under a series of leads going off in all directions, he started trying to get to his hand to his face and was told to leave the mask alone as he needed oxygen for his heart muscles. He kept struggling. The nurse took the mask off his face and K informed him with his last gasp that he couldn't breathe. It turned out that the replacement gas cylinder was empty too! A third one was soon delivered. After the ECG K was given some meds and choofed off to another room for blood tests. Two and a half hours later some of the results came back! I was despatched to an office in Area B. I wasn't told what for, but I dutifully went. It turned out that I had to pay my 50Dhs insurance excess. An hour later the rest of the results came back. Half an hour after that he saw the doctor, who was very good!
When queue jumping takes over 4 hours you have to feel sorry for those who patiently wait their turn!
The whole time in the hospital you are not sure where you are supposed to go or what you are waiting for. You get told to go to various locations, but you are not sure why. It seems that the staff know their routines and what everything is, and it is assumed that patients know it all too!
The standard of medical care is good (apart from the odd incident of almost suffocating patients with non-existent oxygen), but the standard of communciation about where to go and why is very poor. And ... I'm not sure that there is actually a triage. It seems that to get urgent attention you need to jump up and down a bit.
Well that was my Saturday! How was yours? Oh, K's much better now.