Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why we get 20%

Today, several officers went up to Belize City for a couple of meetings.  As we were about to leave, we got a call from our ACS officer asking us to stop by one of the two hospitals in Belize City to get a Privacy Act Waiver.  (Whenever an American needs our help, we have to get permission from them to talk to anyone outside the Department about their case, including their family).

I wasn't expecting much, but I was still surprised at how bad the facilities were.  The whole hospital was dusty - a slick film over everything.  The walls were painted that hospital green that you see in every part of the world.  The medical ward where the American was being treated was under construction, but still being used.  Walls were half finished, ceiling tiles were broken and missing, wires were dangling all over the place.  The rooms housed six patients with little to no privacy.  There was no A/C so all the windows were open, without screens.

Now, while the facilities were awful, most of the staff was quite helpful.  The nurses were going through a staff change and I could see them communicating the status of the patients.  The doctor seemed capable and took the time to go over the patients condition with him.  From what I saw today, the deplorable conditions were not due to a lack of care.

But, I now understand why we are medevaced out of the country for any procedure.  This hospital was one of the NICE hospitals where we recommend people to go to (if they need to go to a doctor in Belize).

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