Our ward caters to indigent male surgical patients. Most of the patients admitted cannot go home, even if they’re already well, because they don’t have enough to pay for the small amount of money for their confinement. Most of the patients and relatives abscond, while some chose to stay because of the free food, bed, & water.
It’s my first time, however, to have a patient abandoned by his relatives. This patient had intracerebral hemorrhage. He cannot move, cannot speak, have tracheostomy tube to help him breathe, and a nasogastric tube for his food. His family cannot buy his medicines anymore. They’ve decided to bring the patient home but they couldn’t even go home because of lack of money. So they abandoned their patient.
Having a patient who is bedridden and is dependent on the caregiver for all his needs is a burden on us nurses, especially when you’re in a charity wing where a lot of patients are admitted. I allot 2 hours of my 8-hour shift taking care of him. Sometimes I see tears falling down his eyes whenever I go to him. He knows he have been abandoned. I don’t know what to do in situations like this. I just set aside my feelings and do my job.
This is reality. A lot of poor people die poor. And you just can’t do anything about it. I hope there are institutions that would help abandoned patients. I know of some institutions who help abandoned animals. Why can’t they create one for abandoned patients?
I know it’s my job as a nurse to take care of the sick and the dying. But a nurse also needs a fair amount of patients that he/she can handle in order to function fully and give the quality of care needed by all patients.
That’s all a nurse like me is asking.
So start hiring more nurses you money-hoarding, cross-cutting priests!