If I could wave a magic wand, or come into some riches from somewhere; the first thing I would do, is end world hunger and then eradicate the UTTER failure that is the Jamaican public health care system.

As I sat and stood and paced in the Accident and Emergency Section of the University Hospital of the West Indies from a little before 1:00 pm on Monday to 1:40 am, waiting on what seemed like a phantom doctor we heard was “coming”, since the first hour or two when we arrived, I saw through my own eyes and the eyes of all the family members that also sat there for hours; and I felt almost completely HOPELESS after seeing and yes; FEELING their sense of dread and hopelessness!!.

In the midst of all of that; and being in that space and seeing and hearing all that was going on with the other patients in pain, and at different levels of injury, I witnessed a gentleman who came in struggling with mental issues, being there SO long, that his family member had to leave to go pick up their baby, eat and return; just pull his restraints and walk right past two workers at the desk who were busy chatting away; and by the time I saw him and alerted them, he was GONE; nowhere to be found, which means there was either no security guard at the front, or that there is no communication with the staff and the security about these patients and their possible flight risk as they come in.

I SHIVERED again, that time for a different reason other than the babies screaming in pain and the adults wailing; this time, it was the fact that someone’s child/father/spouse/cousin; who was taken there for care, was now somewhere out there, only God knows where; in his diminished mental state, in danger and maybe endangering others.

This because he was in a manic state and slipped through what should not have been “the crack,” and imaging the feelings of that family after hearing that their loved one just walked out, and now they have no idea where he was. That was after having to comfort a poor mother who was crying uncontrollably about her son being there for HOURS earlier in the day and just getting progressively WORSE; his mental state diminishing right before our VERY eyes; because he had been there for HOURS waiting on this ONE doctor to come to see him as well.

I am SO hoping that the gentleman who left; that his family members are able to find him, and find him unharmed and may faada gawd help ALL of us who HAVE to interface with and use these public healthcare facilities; causenseh ONLY Jah Jah know seh it DUTTY out deh Rasta.


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