Monday, September 6, 2010

Sorry…the doctor is sick

That’s what 18 patients scheduled for endoscopies were told this morning at Chiclayo’s hospital Naylamp. They hadn’t eaten for the required 24 hours previously and several of them had traveled overnight to Chiclayo from remote villages to be at the hospital at 6:30am. An older woman from Guadalupe tried to plead her case but was told along with everyone else to make another appointment for sometime after October 4th.

Even if the doctor was not sick this morning, those people who arrived at 6:30am stand a good chance of not being seen until late in the afternoon. I have not yet discovered what mystical process is used to determine whose turn is next, but it’s sure not scheduled appointment time. What happens is when a patient is seen leaving the consultation office everyone hurriedly stands and crowds toward the door, hoping whoever is in charge will point at them.

In other posts I think I commented that the lack of organization, systems and procedures is what many expatriates living in Peru complain about most loudly. The above is not an isolated incident - it is an example of the inefficiencies rampant in all processes. When I set out in the morning to pay a phone, water or electric bill, claim a package at the post office, pick up our laundry, check out a book at the library or transact any other business government or private I fully expect what Maribel and I have come to call the ‘whoops.’ The system will be down or will not accept the information; the forms or regulations have recently changed, a rubber stamp or stamp pad is lost, or it’s time to close business for the day no matter how many people have been admitted inside and are standing in line. If a transaction is successfully concluded in one stop and in less than 2 hours or so I actually feel a sense of victory, but only after I have safely exited the building.

Peruvians don’t like the lack of organization and occasionally show their frustration, but I don’t think they or the people in charge realize there are better ways. Or perhaps they do…maybe it’s just a lack of money that prevents better systems and procedures. Maribel has a tougher time putting up with the ‘whoops’ than I do. She knows there are better ways. Her two years in the States spoiled her.

Anyway…Maribel’s father is sitting at the kitchen table wolfing down a big breakfast as I type this. He was one of the 18 at the hospital. We’ll try again in October.


1 comment:

  1. REading this post makes me sick, literally, with a sinking feeling in my gut. Sure, it's a big pain in the butt for me here in Lima when things like that happen. But I can't even imagine how distressing it has to be for someone who lives in the provinces and had to go through God knows what and spend who knows how much money they could ill afford to get there - just to be told tough, come back next month.