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Not just a number

Letters

My family is currently going through a very difficult and sensitive situation, which seems to have been made even more difficult due to poor judgement and insensitivity of the National Health Service. 

I am very grateful for the support of the medical teams, although ‘protocol’ has caused tension in an already sensitive situation.

My father is a 63-year-old retired Bahraini man. On February 8, he was admitted to Salmaniya Medical Complex for a massive brain stroke which he is recovering from (an ambulance had already visited him at home and deemed him stable). We later found out that he also has cancer stage four. 

The past few weeks have been very difficult for the whole family, and the doctors have now advised that the next step is a much needed PET scan to determine the course of treatment, due to the nature of the illness this scan has been deemed critical.

SMC referred him to another hospital, where we were advised that my father had to wait six months for the PET scan – a vital procedure in order to help keep him stable, as the next treatment could not be decided on until the scan is complete. 

The hospital advised that another option was to pay BD300. We are lucky enough to be in a situation where this was possible, and suddenly an appointment came up two days later.

My family has felt let down by ‘the system’. As a man who has worked, lived, and grown up in Bahrain, we would hope for support when times are hard. We also recognise that there are many people who are not in a stable financial situation who would not survive the long wait for necessary treatments.

I would like to shed light on this situation, in the hopes of helping my father, and others like him, ease even a small piece of their burden. As a carer, I recognise that small acts of kindness can ease a very painful situation.  

Having to negotiate the next stage of treatment made a difficult situation even worse, and added to an already soul destroying state. 

I recognise the lengths that our government is going to in order to try and help carers of cancer patients. I only wish that the medical protocols could be altered to reflect that patients are recognised as individual cases, and not just by patient numbers.

Shaikha Abdulrahman

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