02
Jun
07

In a State of Emergency

Last Monday was the second time I heard my father cry.

First was a few years ago, after graduating from college, I told him I wanted to move out and try living independently. He thought I was trying to cut ties with the family and ended up almost disowning me.

Fast forward to February 12, 2007.

Past 8 pm. I texted Papa twice and asked him to fetch me from work so he could drive me to my Tito Kits’ place.

Tito Kits is a nuclear cardiologist (a very good one), and aside from having my erratic BP checked (almost had a mild stroke once while editing), I was also concerned with my possibly dying toenails.

Thirty minutes after my last message, I got a text from Mama: D2 kme chinese gen dnala c analyn

I immediately called up my mom’s cellphone: Out of coverage.

Papa’s: Out of coverage.

I tried Analyn’s number. Her phone rang and I half-expected her to take my call. I heard Papa’s voice.

Pa, nasa ospital po kayo? Anong nangyari?

Oo. Nasa Emergency Room kami. Si Analyn, hindi makakilos.

Ha? Hindi makakilos?

Oo. Hindi gumagalaw.

Hanggang ngayon?

Oo.

Tangina.

I immediately apologized for the cuss word. I asked for other details: Where did it happen? How? Why? Papa’s answers were brief and his voice broke.

When I hung up, I can’t help but cry too.

******

My sister collapsed while accompanying a friend in a salon at P. Noval.

Her whole body just froze and she can barely breathe. In between gasps, she managed to let out short cries of agony while her numb body felt like it was being pricked by a thousand needles.

As her color slowly turned pale, her friend called Papa and told him about the situation. Then he ran all the way from P. Noval to the Emergency Room of UST Hospital.

At the Emergency Room, his cry for help fell on deaf ears.

Tumawag muna kayo sa Hotline ng hospital.

For some reason, the dumb nurses refused to send a gurney or stretcher since he was a walk-in. My sister was half-conscious in a salon which was only a few steps away from the University gates and all they could tell her friend was to call the hotline?

Disgusted, her friend went back to the salon and told my sister about the hospital’s reply.

Good thing, Analyn was the type who can laugh about a situation no matter how serious it really is. And since she was still breathing, she pushed the thought of crying off her mind and managed to crack jokes to mask her panic.

After a few minutes, our parents arrived. Papa and her friend tried to carry Analyn to our car, but every move seemed to aggraviate her pain. So — panic-stricken Mama was left to tend to her, while Papa drove hurriedly to the Emergency Room.

Since it was an emergency, Papa asked the guard at the exit gate of P. Noval if he could pass through.

Hindi puwedeng dumaan dito. Dun kayo.

Let me just stress that we were in an emergency situation and the guard still dismissed my father to the entrance gate at Espana.

The traffic delayed my dad for a few more minutes. By the time he arrived at the UST Emergency Room, he asked the attending nurse if they could provide a stretcher for my sister.

The nurse answered non-commitally: Sir, walang sasama sa inyong tao, hindi namin puwedeng iwan yung mga pasyente rito sa ER.

Papa could not believe what he just heard.

Kung gusto ninyo, i-three man handle niyo na lang yung pasyente. Dalhin ninyo rito.

Papa told them Analyn is in grave pain. Her body was stiff and her joints cannot handle even the slighest movement. They could not just carry her like a sack of rice.

Magpadala na lang kayo ng ambulansya. Babayaran ko!

Hindi po puwede Sir, wala pong sasama.

At past 7 pm, my father recalled that there were only two functioning nurses in the area. Where were they? Dinner break?

Ibig sabihin, kung may emergency talaga kayo, hindi kayo makakakilos dahil walang tao? Anong klaseng ospital ito? Walang tao?!

So these incompetent nurses get to choose who lives and who dies? Apparently, the ER staff had no real sense of urgency at all. Now that is scary!

Exasperated, Papa ended up buying plywood from a nearby supply store and used this to transfer Analyn to our car.

Even with UST Hospital just a few meters away, my parents decided to bring my sister — a third year UST Fine Arts student — to Chinese General Hospital in Blumentritt.

******

I remember an article I wrote in The Varsitarian a few years ago. It was about campus security and how territorial rules state that the University’s responsibility for a student’s safety ends as soon as he/she steps out of UST gates.

So, if a student gets robbed and stabbed three feet away from UST gates, it’s OK for the guards to stare at him as he bleeds to death. This is because the crime did not occur within University premises.

No wonder criminals lurk for helpless students outside University gates. Once you get out one feet away from the University’s “protective shield,” everyone is literally a free-for-all for knife-wielding, trigger-happy thieves or rapists.

******

Image079 If it’s the rule for University security, the same goes for its health services.

I’m not really familiar with UST Hospital’s territorial issues, however, it’s ironic how one can still be treated shabbilly by lousy hospital employees in a school that prides itself as breeding ground for the country’s best doctors and nurses.

To think that UST has its own hospital within its premises, truth is, it really has no concrete mechanism for emergency situations such as the one my own sister experienced.

kathang likha noong 02.15.07 sa: http://turningpoints.blogs.friendster.com/turning_points/

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