Sir, maawa na po kayo. Tanggapin niyo na po ang anak ko. Hirap na hirap na po siya.”(Doc, please admit my son. He is in distress. Just make him live.)
A man in his late twenties. A diagnosed case of Tuberculosis. He was so thin I could almost trace the anatomic landmarks of his bones. He cannot speak. He could only open his eyes on prompting. He had mental retardation.
The father was pleading that his son be admitted in our institution. I assessed the vital signs. Blood pressure was okay. The oxygen saturation was only a meager 65%. I immediately told my senior the case. He said, like most of the less severe cases we see in our hospital, that they should transfer the patient to another Hospital, at San Lazaro, perhaps, since that institution specializes in infectious diseases such as TB.
And the hardest part of everything is trying to explain to the patients that the hospital has a low tolerance for patients with TB. It is not because we do not care, but because we do not want other patients to acquire TB. The father kept on pleading. My heart was was bleeding. I went to my senior and told him, “Sir, I could not handle this.”
Other patients came, so the patient, in all his frailty, was drowned in the presence of new patients.
I still could not accept the fact that the patient was being sent home with a saturation of only 65%. I asked my senior again what should be done to the patient. He was gasping for breathe. And he was advised to go to another hospital.
I was just thankful that after re-assessment, my senior finally decided that the patient should be intubated.
I went home, under the pouring rain. I almost thought I forgot my umbrella. I rummaged through my bag. There it is. I realized there is always something to be thankful for.