Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ER: Morocco

Well, G and our stairs got into a little tussle last night.  The stairs won.  You can see why:

Just in case you're wondering, marble is not very forgiving to little boys' heads.  We have envisioned this day ever since moving into this house.  Thankfully, it could have been much worse.

Anyhow,  it was time to take our inaugural trip to an African hospital.  I guess I shouldn't say "our", because it was bedtime for the baby Woo (and really, who wants to take a crawler to the hospital?) and I got a get out of jail free card.  So really, all of this info is coming from Joe, the real hero in this story.

Our embassy health unit always directs emergencies with children to the Clinique Nations Unies (United Nations clinic, not affiliated with THE United Nations) because they have a pediatrician and I guess it is supposed to be better than others.

An RN from the embassy called ahead and informed us a doctor was there and waiting for G.  This wasn't entirely true; the doctor had yet to arrive, but it definitely seemed they received preferential treatment as Americans.  Joe felt a little guilty about that, but there wasn't anyone in the waiting room that was in major distress so he went with it.  

When they were called back to see the doctor they walked past all sorts of beds with patients being seen...out in the open. Obviously HIPAA is not a factor in Morocco, but Joe could have been spared the mounds of blood-soaked gauze next to someone else getting sewn up.  Also, there was no door or barrier between the waiting room and the examining area.  Pretty much just come and go as you please- which of course now in the States it requires all sorts of key cards and codes to get past the waiting room in the ER.

G's examination bed had a sheet over it that was either dirty or stained.  They were busy preparing the stitches before even looking at his head.  Joe piped up with, "I'm not sure he will even need stitches. We couldn't see his head clearly."  So then they looked, and yes, he needed stitches. The nurses didn't feel the need to use gloves with G, but the doctor did.  As we suspected, the gash in the back of his head, though small (about an inch) was DEEP.

Right after the accident happened and he had calmed down, we had given G free reign with the iPod to distract him from the poking and prodding to his head.  It worked like a charm and he only fussed during the first shot of lidocaine.   They used the bandage we had put on G at home to re-bandage his head after they put in the stitches (albeit with a new piece of gauze) because it was much better than anything they had at the hospital.  (Daniel- can you imagine doing that at Children's?)

And that was it.  Other than some "keeping the bandage on" wrestling before bedtime, he is good as new.  The stitches will fall out on their own and we can do his check-up at the embassy.

We have since heard from a French Moroccan that the doctors here are generally good- they are trained mostly in France and a few in the U.S.  It's the facilities and nurses that are often lacking.  All in all, our experience was much better than many of our friends (wrong medicines, DEAD BODIES IN THE HALLWAY, and possible re-use of bloody rags) and we are so thankful.

Now as Americans we can't say that we have healthcare totally figured out, but most of us have access to great facilities and doctors that adhere to the highest standards.  And yet we are thankful because the quality of care that we received last night in Rabat is probably much better than most of the world has access to.

Our champ of a patient.  (With iPod)
P.S. FYI, the bill was just under $100. Of course you have to pay that in cash on the spot.  Not bad. In the states our copay would probably have been $100 and the insurance company would've paid $1200 for gauze, sutures, and an anesthesiologist on call.

P.P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see that G and parents survived the first, and hopefully last trip to the ER.