Dr. Abdullah Nadeem Al-Siri to Yemen Times”No body could imagine how I was smuggled into the Cardiology Department!” [Archives:2005/837/Health]
People complain of the maltreatment they have been experiencing in medical institutions in our country. Instead of finding mercy to decrease their sufferings and a mild hand to cure patients, they suffer additional bad treatment.
This is reflected on lack of services, intentional negligence for the patient without mercy, humanity and conscience on the part of doctors.
A patient reaches a hospital, with a life and death situation, to find no available bed to lie on, while the staff remain unmoved eventhough he may drop dead anytime in front of the hospital's entrance in order to maintain what remains of his health. This kind of suffering increases, when you see most hospitals' keep the dead in fridges that are mostly out of use.
Since the ordinary person's testimony is not conceivable, we had an interview with one of the famous medical leaders, Dr. Abdullah Nadeem Al-Siri, Deputy Director of Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz, who has been suffering from a cardiac disease. He refused to get medical treatment, opposing the maltreatment faced by him at Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a and here he is presenting his experience to add to the common people. Dr. Abdullah Al-Siri has been working as a physician, specialized in Orthopedics, for 20 years. He is occupying the position of Deputy GM of Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz for Academic Affairs.
Q: Could you tell us about your health? What are the reasons behind your strike?
A: I have been suffering from emphraxis in the blood artery, and have a medical report issued from the Supreme Medical Committee in Sana'a. My case required carrying out an operation of catheterization. I came to Sana'a believing that the cost would be covered by the Ministry of Finance, Cardiology department but the operation couldn't be carried out in Al-Thawra Hospital,Sana'a.
Q: What happened in Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a?
A: My knowledge about such things is that some physicians, who went to Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a, came back from its gate. The Hospital's officials deal with people severely and savagely. Anyway, their reply was that they were busy and that I should come back within 14 days, though the diagnosis only took ten minutes. I wanted to know, throughout the operation, what the reason was for the emphraxis blockage, but to no avail. After eight days I suffered again from angina and was rushed to the hospital by the ambulance for the second time.
Dr. Abdulmalik Al-Sayani, Hospital's Manager, offered all facilities to me. I expected my colleagues to welcome me and present their services, not for the fact that I was a physician, but for the fact that I was a human being in need for treatment. I then asked myself what was missing., Since I had the medical files, official documents, and recommendations via phones. I did not know!
I prepared myself the previous night, fasting and ready for the operation that should have been carried out at three in the afternoon the next day. I was in the ambulance while eight of my relatives were preparing all procedures enabling me to enter the Cardiology Department.
Dr. Abdulmalik Al-Sayani was contacting his deputy to take action. I expected them to have mercy on me because I know that in any system of the world, if there is an individual gesturing to his chest with his finger, a physician should leave whatever he is doing and run to him offering the required service. This law is adopted in countries of all different cultures. What about our Arab Islamic community?
Q: It is known that Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a is the most equipped in the republic, and its services are offered throughout the hour?
A: I heard about some complaints by people of Al-Thawra Hospital reporting that they deal with patients in a boring and inhumane routine. I used to deny such facts till I tried it myself. They said that the letter of Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz is incomplete, though the minute was there; they claimed that the hospital should have sent a guarantee that the money would be paid. Anyway, all those procedures were done. If we estimated the cost of the operation it would be YR 65,000 for an ordinary person, yet the cost in the letter to the hospital and the approval of the Ministry of Finance was US$ 1000 (which means more than 180,000).
I have been suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure for 15 years. The Ministry of Health has not once offered me the cost of a tablet.
The problem here is not my personal experience but the treatment in general. If I, their colleague, was treated this way, what would the common man face?
I hope my voice reaches all ears when saying that the medical profession is in danger.
Q: Is the Cardiology Department absolutely independent?
A: All colleagues in Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a adopt a killing routine. The Cardiology Department though, is completely independent. Nobody knows except for Al-Na'ami, Minister of Health, who on the other hand, should be a father to all.
Q: What were the reasons that made them treat you this way? Can it be described to a specific political affair or party membership ?
A: Some phoned me and asked whether I had a personal problem with the Minister of Health or with Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a. I told them that I onlydealt with them by papers as the Deputy Manager of Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz. They don't know my voice or face! There was no quarrel with any one.
One of my colleagues was suffering from the same problem and was rejected from the hospital's gates. He suffered until he died without being cured. In brief, there is discrimination by both the Ministry of Health and Al-Thawra Hospital in Sana'a between people as well as doctors.
Entering case to the Cardiology Department
Q: Were all attempts to let you enter the Cardiology Department in vain?
A: The most important point I want to mention is that some friends tried to convince me that the only way was to be trafficked into the department. Can you imagine it? A doctor trafficked into the Cardiology Department in order to rescue him, because no doctor agreed to sign him to lie on a bed.
I say outspokenly now that it became a personal matter between the Minister of Health and myself, having nothing to do with politics and parties. Even if there was such a thing, the hospital should care for me as a patient regardless of my being a friend or an enemy. I am expressing my feelings of anger because I have been refusing to take a single tablet of cardiac diseases for 13 days opposing this treatment. I found that death is more honorable. Anyway, when I agreed to be trafficked into the Cardiology Department, another story developed. When I entered the department, the officials contacted Dr. Abdulkarim Thamer who is considered as one of the key doctors there. I didn't know at the time that he is the Chief of the Physician Syndicate. I talked to him that night informing him about my status. He told me to come the next day at 7:30 a.m. and that I would be the first one to enter the department. What happened was that, he never came and I still haven't met hi, unitl now. I was left on chairs when there were four vacant beds to lie on. I appealed to the nurse to lie on a bed but she told me that my name was not enlisted and that she had instructions that could not be disobeyed.
“I will sue the Minister of Health”
Dr. Abdullah Nadeem said: before the catheterization operation, we gave them CDs to record the operation on the computer; they said that they were not required and that they needed Sony tapes. Concerning blood analysis, they received instructions not to expose check ups.
If the patient has an operation today why don't they ask for check ups from labs today?
I warned them not to forget that I was trafficked into the department.
I now intend to file a suit against the Minister of Health and hope that my voice will reach the president and all the honorable people of this country.
Q: Was there anyone who felt sympathetic towards your case, either family members or others?
A: There was a single physician whom I am grateful; Dr. Mohammed Hassan Agha. He left his work and went from one place to another in order to facilitate the procedures. Dr. Agha brought me the guarantee for the cost of the operation. The other person whom I am thankful for is Dr. Abdulqadir Hatem, Taiz Assistant Deputy Governor, who called me everyday to check on my health.
Q: Tell us frankly, how do you deal with your patients in Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz?
A: We are not angels; of course we commit mistakes but our mistakes do not reach the level of other hospitals. We have fired a physician who was working in the hospital because he was the cause of some death cases. The problem does not lie in committing mistakes but the great shame lies in repeating them, making circumstances worse.
Q: Do you have any last comments?
A: What I want to confirm is that such Cardiac Centers should be available in all provinces in order not to increase the patient's sufferings in traveling to Sana'a where physicians treat patients mercilessly. Some doctors are considered psychologically sick, especially those who work at Al-Thawra Hospital. On behalf of all physicians and in the name of the honor and sacredness of the profession, I appeal to the president to clean the Ministry of Health and to remove its corruption. I would also like to thank you as well as all honorable pens.
In conclusion, we reinforce the reopening of the files of the public medical institutions that are drowning in the administrative corruption and the bad medical circumstances. Being silent to such affairs means contributing to corruption.
It is a patients' cry, and it should be heard by the government to clean up such places. We as pressmen should devote our efforts in order to show the truth.