I always wanted to be a doctor, a pediatrician to be precise. That was my childhood dream and I grew up admiring the white coat and the stethoscope on the neck. I wanted to save lives. I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. But isn’t that what many, if not all of us, grew up dreaming of?
We grew up being fed with the information that being a doctor is being a hero. Being a star more than superman or spiderman. It meant changing the world. We grew up watching series like ER, Grey’s anatomy, Scrubs, The mob doctors, House…and the list is endless… and we knew for sure this is it. This is what I want to become. Well, for me, that was before reality hit me hard and I hard to divorce the science and math world. Even so, I never really stop feeling nostalgic of my childhood dream. I would have had fun playing around with crying babies in the hospital oh without forgetting singing and dancing nursery rhymes lol is that even real? Whom am I kidding? ?
Going back to history when we didn’t have all these pills, machines and vaccines, even then, the herbalists were highly regarded. They were close to the king’s status. They were honoured and considered noble. Therefore it is no big surprise that more than 50% of the parents in the world want their children to be doctors. Doesn’t matter if it is a surgeon, a cardiologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, pharmacist, dermatologist, radiologist, dentist…you name it. So long as we have the ‘st’ at the end of the word then we good to go right?
We will all agree that the job done by doctors is a sacrifice that very few can actually take up to. Working over 24 hours, lacking sleep, operating for almost an entire day, dozing on the benches, missing out A LOT on family events and hanging out with friends…The course itself is too tiresome and going over a long period of time. It takes a lot of hard work, passion, dedication, energy, oh and college money to actually work it through. Perhaps this is exactly why they really deserve to be our heroes. But then the course of things in the medicine world started changing when doctors shifted their focus from the heart to the pocket. Doctors; is it by soul or by the money? This is where we got it all wrong. When our heroes valued the money more than humanity.
I usually wonder sometimes when I see very poor people getting really sick, I wonder, how do they get through to get their medication? Of course God doesn’t neglect anyone. He always brings ways for us during our hard times but apart from that, how do they survive? I mean, seeing a specialist of any kind let’s say neurologist or cardiologist costs one almost four thousand, five thousand, for just an appointment with the doctor. Just to look at his face and hear his golden words. No, don’t get me wrong. Yes, these doctors very well deserve it. It is their hard work. It is their hard earned money but this disqualifies them from being our heroes any longer. And this is how poor people die miserably in their homes because have you ever thought what this four/five…ten thousand is for them? That could be their entire salary. That could be the food plus school fees plus rent plus water for the whole month. That could be a fortune for them. And then that is not all. After that you tell this same person in a something that looks like a clothe because it can’t even be regarded as a clothe. It is similar but it is not. It is rags, they are in torn shoes and have rough sore hands. You tell this same person to make almost four tests which would cost them maybe another two thousand without forgetting the medication that would also cost them another fortune. What are you tying to tell them? Go away? Because of course you are chasing them away with your prices. You are indirectly telling them ‘you deserve to die miserably because you can’t afford to see me’. It is telling them ‘this is not your place to be’.
This is how we see poor souls crowding in Coast general and many other public hospitals desperately trying to get help. Anxiously waiting for the time when doctors would leave their private hospitals to come have a peep at them in the public hospitals. This is how nurses treat them like ‘you ain’t gonna tell me nothing. You are just here by our mercy’and treat them worse than the street dogs. They still come though. What should they do? This is the only place they can find a little bit of humanity left. So they wake up while the world is still dark and quiet, rush to the hospital to be the first in line and then wait and wait and wait for hours before the honourable doctor walks in to serve them. You see the fatigue, the helplessness, the anxiousness, the sickness on their faces all at once. What happened to our heroes?
But I will tell you this, although many doctors became what they became so as to acquire their current bank balance, there are some who continue being legends of our times. There are some who have put humanity at the front before money.
There is a doctor in our neighbourhood who is so kind; so humane that you would just be amazed by his nature. He works with his wife in their private clinic and over the years I saw this doctor not charging a shilling to patients whom he wasn’t able to establish their illnesses. He doesn’t charge the patients before but after. If he couldn’t assist you or if he just asked you to do a few tests he doesn’t charge you for talking to him.
I have seen him treating poor people several times free of charge. He sometimes even gives the medicines free of charge. He treats others on credit when they request so. I have seen him showing utmost kindness to his patients and I swear I am a witness to how much he and his wife prospered over the years. They opened their own maternity clinic which also keeps expanding with time. I have seen how God blessed him and his family. And it makes me think, if we just had a few more private doctors who served their communities whole-heartedly and with humbleness, how then would we have over crowded public hospitals with desperate patients crying their souls out for the pain? I am not saying the government is not to blame for not establishing more and proper medical institutions for the less advantaged communities but let’s accept it; we can always do better when we stand for humanity; when we support and help each other.
If you are a doctor and reading this, this is a challenge for you. Are you really the hero you claimed to be? Are you satisfied and proud by how you have held that title of a ‘doctor’? Are you a doctor by the soul or by the pocket??