Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Money can buy life

Published:Monday | January 26, 2015 | 1:00 AM

I can't give you their names, but they're much more than a few,

Of living, breathing human beings just like me and just like you,

Who can't afford to pay to live, 'tis sad I know but true,

For want of essential dollars, their life's journey is through.

They're citizens of Jamaica, a fair Caribbean isle,

Where for some people, money flows like it's going out of style,

But for many others, life's just as bitter as bile,

Poverty, hard life and unhappiness accumulate in one miserable pile.

It's hard to believe that this is happening, for you see,

They told us that health care would cost nothing, they said it would be 'free',

Then why are so many dying, how can this be?

I guess they didn't heed the warnings, from people just like me.

It started out as politics, with its attendant tricks,

They promised for our health care, a quick and easy fix,

Many people were not paying fees, their bills they saw as nix,

But those that paid contributed $1.7 billion, now thrown out of the annual mix.

With nothing to replace it and an economy under strain,

The so-called 'free health care' resulted in suffering and pain,

Interminable lines, dawn to dusk, sunshine and rain,

Left patients miserable but the administration success did feign.

All we ask is that those who can afford it, some fees they accommodate,

So that the poorer ones among us can escape a horrible fate,

For many, it's a choice of medicine or food upon their plate,

With children crying and parents dying, some relief would be great.

But the powers that be are not listening and I can't understand why,

I thought the poor they cared for, so why leave them to die?

We all must live together under one big, broad, blue sky,

Aren't the ones in charge tired of feeding us lie after lie?

They're wasting tens of millions on one thing or the other,

Inquiries, big contracts and paying for private jet flights ... oh brother!

Constituents are people and not just political fodder,

They're someone's sister, brother, son, daughter, father or mother.

I wish that our people would wake up and see things as they are,

But they're so entangled in politics, they're submerged in it, really far,

So deep that they don't realise that their own lives they mar,

By accepting rubbish from our leaders, they'll never raise the bar.

And so let's talk of Mr Brown who came to me one day,

Huffing and puffing and short of breath, thought he was dying he did say,

His heart sounded like an old machine, stop soon I thought it may,

So I sent him off to the hospital and for him I did pray.

A decent, humble, hard-working man, clean of heart and mind,

Given a year-long appointment for assistance, his hopes to a halt did grind.

The public, 'free' health-care system put his family in a bind,

He could be fixed in a week or two if $1 million they could find.

They had no luck and they were poor, so you know without a doubt,

Sicker he got and sicker still until his light went out,

Nothing could help, no tablets, no wishes, not even his friends with clout,

He died because he lacked money; the operation he had to do without.

The same applies to our citizens with cancers, strokes and such things,

They suffer pain and distress when they run under the government's 'free' health-care wings,

Many try to hold on to their faith and hope eternal springs,

But they end up on the cold, hard slab and the church, Swing Low Sweet Chariot sings.

So remember this if ever you find 'free health care' cuts like a knife,

Keep agitating your politicians whether as a parent, child, husband or wife,

It doesn't have to be this way, so please keep up the strife

For better health care from public places; money should not buy your life.

n Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.