Open Letter to Prime Minister Andrew Holness – When was the last time you took a visit to KPH?

The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
1 Devon Road
Kingston 10

Please, I hope you read my letter as I have lots to say. When was the last time you took a visit to KPH? I mean dress as a different person, so people don’t recognize and give you first-class treatment, just to see what the people of your country face each time they visit the hospital. If you want to know the real story behind many of the complaints, go there incognito and see for yourself. The system is broken and the poor suffer for it.
My sister was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer that’s spread from her brain to her leg, and with referrals, in hand, she went there thinking she can get the care from a system that is knowledgeable in this area of treatment. Although the referral states that the urgency of her situation, the nurses and doctors treated her with no respect. She was discarded like a piece of dirty rag.
She went back again and had to join a line from 6 in the morning standing and waiting until 8 am to get a number and told to return at 2 pm. When she returned, she was told that they would not call her until after 6 pm. At 7 pm, she was told she is in the wrong area to go back upstairs where she was and doing so she was again sent back downstairs only for them to tell her to come back on the 24th. What was the use of the doctor stating the urgency of her need if it was only going to be ignored? Where is the humanity for the sick?
I heard and read numerous stories like hers on various social media and always thought some of these people must be exaggerating because a country like Jamaica could not be so far behind with technology so far ahead. I dreamt of buying a house in Jamaica, but I have to reconsider because if I get sick, I will not survive with an inadequate health system as such.
Mr. Holness, my sister is only 27 years old, and although the cancer has spread, her life can be saved with proper treatment. Mr. Holness, do you know what it’s like to hear your little sister cry from unbearable pain and cannot do anything to help her? I am broken inside, I don’t sleep, I worry, and most of all I am scared. I don’t understand why a system that’s in operation to help the sick treat the sick as if they are a problem. The nurses behave in a manner unbecoming to their profession. With the look of repugnance, they project bitterness to the sick of not wanting to be bothered or not wanting their precious time to be interrupted.  It seems as if they don’t understand their duties regarding the sick. A lady recently posted that her mother died in another hospital from the same kind of treatment. No one cared, told her to sit down, and from 7 pm she sat there until 2 am before someone looked at her only to realize the severity of her mother’s injuries, then trying to save her life when it was too late.
Mr. Holness, I am in the medical field, and I know, in some instances, patients who are critical requiring urgent care, that others must wait. However, staff should be sufficient and proficient in that they can triage patients to determine the urgency of their needs, and direct them to those who are trained to treat their illnesses.  Those are not farfetched ideas; they are implemented daily in the U.S. and by now should be part of the Jamaican health system.
Citizens of other West Indian Islands laugh at our country as they believe we are behind times when compared to theirs. Jamaica was the first in many things, such as a rail system, and electricity. How did we fall behind in such a deep pit that we must rely on others to dig us out? Mr. Holness, I beg of you to please make a change. People must be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their socioeconomic status or cultural diversities. Mr. Holness, sickness is blind to the economic standards of the people you serve, but the system should consider and care for them.
I know you are a busy man, and I am pleased with the many tasks you’ve accomplished; however, the health care system should be at the top of your agenda if it’s not. I don’t just speak for my sister; I speak for all those who suffer from such dishearten circumstances in a country that is their pride and joy. We must set trends Mr. Holness, and if we choose to follow others, let us duplicate those who set examples above and beyond dialect and no substance. Mr. Holness, have you ever wondered why cancer is rampant in a country with natural agriculture? Have you ever thought about the impact of the ethnic cuisine and lifestyle that was once foreign to our country now prevalent? Have you ever wondered about all the dust your citizens breathe in building roads and what the future holds for them with lungs problem? Is this how they who help to build the country should be treated? Mr. Holness you pledged to “build real partnerships with the Private Sector, Civil Society, the Diaspora, the Opposition and International Partners in order to achieve the vision of shared prosperity for all Jamaicans through inclusive economic growth and meaningful job creation” Mr. Holness, I hold you to those words as they are the words I live by through you. I am happy to know you will never suffer such fate, Mr. Holness, but your people need your undivided attention in rebuilding their trust in a system that has failed them time and time again. Thanks for allowing me to vent my grievances and your listening ear.

Andrea DaCosta,
A broken-hearted big sister

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