In an earlier blog we spoke about how we “are all in this together” but that we are not in this together as equals. At the time I omitted part of what I had written for the sake of being too long, but with the news of Boris Johnson in hospital I thought I would share those parts of it today. Boris has been admitted to St Thomas’ hospital which has experience and expertise in treating coronavirus patients in its intensive care unit. It is one of the few hospitals in the country to have a life support machine called ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) there are only a handful of these machines around the country. The latest news is, that he took oxygen for a while and is now breathing by himself which we hope to be true. We mean no offence towards Boris as he is the Prime Minister, but as an example of inequality his case fits the bill.
Yes he may be in a NHS hospital but more than likely in one of the private wings, as news reports state he has a team of the best doctors around him, this means not the overwhelmed on duty head doctor, freshmen and students! Parts copied from St Thomas’ Private Healthcare site states: offers private patients exceptional care in a safe, trusted and comfortable environment, we provide high quality clinical care. Whatever your treatment, you’ll be cared for by world-class consultants, safe in the knowledge that you have the backup of a full range of hospital services. This is not of course what people conjure up in their minds when told he is being treated by the NHS, as Prime Minister I see the necessity for this, but lack of honesty and trickery of the truth leads to more mistrust. With all this said, whatever care he receives, I do wish him a speedy recovery and hope he is able to leave hospital soon. Within the context of the virus itself though, we really are all in this together, but not all equal.
We have an amazing health care system here in Spain and after many years of working with the sick, I can only praise them for specialist care and short duration waiting lists. I have used emergency services myself a few times and had family taken to hospital. Once my young daughter needed hospitalisation on a Sunday, the hospital didn’t have a renal paediatric specialist so one was flown in and with us by Sunday afternoon! During this epidemic though things have changed, you are only hospitalised if absolutely necessary and needing specialised care, a friend with symptoms who had breathing problems called emergency and was taken to the local heath centre emergency room. After a couple of hours on oxygen and her breathing stabilised, she was sent home to recover, may I add without a test for the virus, this has also happened to a friend of my sons in the UK. Like everywhere tests are in large demand but there aren’t enough available, not even for doctors and nurses! They are only used in serious cases to confirm the virus or, for what seems to be those with private medical insurance, knowing personally at least 4 people that have recently tested positive after private testing with very mild symptoms .
Meanwhile in America Black Chicagoans account for half of all coronavirus cases in the city and more than 70% of deaths, despite making up 30% of the population. Of course deaths in USA is going to be the highest purely by the fact that many don’t have access to a Doctor as they aren’t able to afford health insurance, with the few public ones being overwhelmed and unequipped. Dr Arwady told reporters that even if everyone in the city did have access to a doctor, “we would still see significant health disparities because of food, deserts and lack of walkable streets”. Obesity and lack of exercise has long been known to be a national crisis in the states, amongst all races and creeds so the statement “Even if everyone had access to a doctor” sounds worrying to me.
In society, at least health care should be afforded to all humans, the billions and maybe trillions in profits of pharmaceuticals and other health related products is again shameful, many die from simple health issues that could be treated at low cost whilst not having access to free care. Many poorer countries suffer, besides rural areas, because Doctors cant access hugely expensive drugs to treat people. You see many Doctors around the world who have trained so hard, working excessive hours with no breaks to help people, imagine how they must feel besides being exhausted, knowing of a drug they cant get hold of or use because its too expensive! So with a lack of supplies they work their hearts out to do the best they can with what they have to ease peoples suffering. Solving many of these problems of course isn’t an easy task with many factors and powers involved, but in an ideal world of truth, compassion and unity, this scenario would not have arisen.
One thing that unites people is a coming together during a crisis, working for the whole not the few, we see this locally in the aftermaths of earthquakes etc. with people uniting and helping each other. This time the crisis is global and affects us all, my hope is that after this long period of isolation for everybody, we have taken time to think about such issues. When we come out the other side, will we start to deploy open truthful actions towards making a better future that is inclusive and appreciative of all parts of society? Only time will tell if this happens or can be achieved, especially on a global level. The selfishness and unfairness that we do see seems depressing at times, especially knowing only a few are making decisions affecting all, and often it comes down to money and profit! but I know and can see that in general people are coming together in compassion, unselfish actions and unity for a common cause. This warms my heart, as with many finding this need for unity within themselves, many may want to carry on with this quality once this all subsides.
I hold onto faith and hope that we are heading into a better future, this may take time of course and not without a fight from those whose bottom line is excessive profits etc. Nothing can be “normal” again after the lessons we are all learning in Isolation, so a path of change may begin. I hope you hold on to this faith too. To finish I leave by wishing you peace in your heart and love for all the goodness that is emerging in society, stay safe and take precautions to protect yourself and loved ones including taking care of your mental health 💜