Friday night. I started having chest pains after a severe backache. Soon after, my left arm also started to hurt. I tried to sleep it off but every now and then the pain would wake me. By 5AM I could no longer go back to sleep. I called my too lazy brothers but they were still very sleepy to drive me to the hospital. After crying buckets of tears, Tani decided to drive me to the Heart Center.
I chose the Philippine Heart Center because if I was indeed having a heart problem, I wanted to be in the best hospital (is it still the best?) specializing in cardiology.
Upon arriving at the ER parking lot, the guards were chatting and were not that accomodating when we asked where we could park. Of course we would hate to park and then have to move the car again. At the ER, I went to the triage and then there were two doctors there. One accomodated me but he was unsmiling, as if I was a disturbance to what he was doing. After a few minutes, I was sent for ECG. I was scared as I had no idea what was going to happen. Good thing two nurses were very nice to me. They said it was not painful and it will be fast. They were smiling and asked me questions in a very friendly tone so I was at ease in no time. Afterwards, I was made to wait for the ECG reading and watch other patients being wheeled in. Then a bit more waiting for the diagnosis of the fellow (my heart is normal it’s just muscle tension) and some more watching. While Tani processed the billing with my HMO, I waited some more. Too much waiting and watching that it made me scared of the other patients and of growing old. After presenting the piece of paper to the ER desk, we had to wait for my prescription for a LONG, LONG time. I mean, when the fellow talked to me earlier she already told me what she would be prescribing me. How long does it take to write a prescription? Does it take more than 30 minutes?
My point in writing this blog is to emphasize on hospital service. A hospital may not be a hotel but they are still a service provider. And take note, they are dealing with sick people. I understand that the Philippine Heart Center is a public hospital thus the very shabby and uncomfortable ER. But can’t they afford a smile on their faces and to be a little more nice? Ok, so they have long hours. But is it reason enough to make their patients uncomfortable (I’m not talking about the physical state)? For heaven’s sake, they chose this profession. They know what they’re getting into. I was just not feeling well, otherwise, I would have complained a lot that they are taking too long and that they were a bunch of unacommodating snobs. Yes, doctors are professionals and they are one of the top professionals in the world. But come on, they would make the patients feel worse with their attitude. Of course this does not apply to all health practitioners. I know a lot of nurses and doctors, in fact, I have a couple of cousins and uncles who are doctors and as far as I know, they are nice and they care for their patients. They’re not doing their job just for the sake of having a job and money.
When I was brought to the Capitol ER when I was in high school because of dengue, I can remember that I was very comfortable and the service was fast. Even if I was scared of needles, they made me understand that blood extraction was important to know if I had dengue or not.
In short, a hospital does not need classy and flashy decorations. They do not need a doorman in uniform and a concierge. Of course, it would’t hurt to have these but it is important for hospitals to have the necessary equipment (naturally) and a competent and friendly staff. A smile can mean so much more to the patients, especially those who are really sick. Who knows, that smile can be the first step to patient recovery?
My experience with that hospital makes me not want to go back there once more. If ever I get sick (which hopefully won’t happen again), I prefer to be brought to a different hospital. Enough said.