Sat | Jan 20, 2018

The ailing, distressed patient

Published:Monday | April 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM

There was a patient who was in severe distress. She had been going back and forth between two health facilities in the fervent hope that one of them would restore her to her former state of excellent health. She had several very serious ailments that threatened her life.

In fact, not too long ago, she became so ill that only medication dispensed and monitored from abroad could save her life. She was so moribund that the overseas dispensers were reluctant to help her, but they were petitioned by foreign concerns who were near and dear to her. With their help, she lived to see another day.

By this time, she was under the care of Dr Petros. He worked with the medical facility that was accustomed to caring for her. He was a serious and meticulous man who took great pride in his work. He was considered a fitting physician to carry out the instructions of the overseas dispensers.

She was improving slowly, however. As was her routine, it became time for her to review her choice of medical facilities. Should she stick to the present one or give the competitor a try? The facility where Dr Petros worked had become complacent because the patient had demonstrated an overwhelming amount of confidence in it when she last chose her health-care provider. The staff were supremely confident that she would once again choose them to continue caring for her, especially during this crucial time of her recovery.

Both medical facilities wanted badly to manage her health care because there were numerous perks. Although the head of the facility where Dr Petros worked was not a hands-on manager, the staff liked having that administrator in charge because some of the patient's personality traits seemed drawn to that particular boss.

But, overall, the patient viewed the boss as less than competent to head the management team and thought that there was too much unfounded confidence, so much so that the boss apparently saw no need to properly represent the medical facility in an open discussion of management styles.

The competing medical facility had a boss who was seen as a salesperson who would say anything to land that all-important job. In an all-out effort to entice the patient, the facility promised her many splendiferous things and, the doctor employed to that facility, Dr Megafonus, assured her that he was absolutely certain that he had the correct and inexpensive medicine to ease her suffering immensely.

Part of the patient figured that it was too good to be true, but another part of her was desperate and willing to try just about anything to get some relief. Besides, the complacent and overconfident facility had irked her somewhat, and she decided to give the competitor another go at managing her health care.

Shockingly, soon after she signed up with that health-care facility, Dr Megafonus failed to make good on his solemn promise to provide the much-needed and much-anticipated relief. He used that promise to lure the patient away from Dr Petros' care and now he back-pedalled.




The patient was promised several things. Astonishingly, the first of them, the most far-reaching, the most important of them fell through. Dr Megafonus claimed that he thought that he had the medicine that he promised her. He was part of the pharmaceutical management team when the patient was under Dr Petros' care and the records show that he knew that the medicine was not available. Yet, he was claiming ignorance and alluded to a nebulous Plan B instead.

The patient is left to wonder if Dr Megafonus' Plan B will force her to pay dearly for the expensive medication and if she can afford it. Can this medical facility deliver on the promises made? Can it manage her during her critical-care period?

Ailing and distressed, Miss Jamaica is waiting on the opening of Parliament on April 14 for a synopsis of her fate, which will be revealed in its entirety on May 15.

With a history of unaccountability and deep-rooted, enlightened self-interest at both health-care facilities, I pray for her recovery.  

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and