The following was posted in June of 2007 while I was still living in Venezuela. With all the recent talk of socialized medicine in the USA, I thought to share some of my personal, first hand experiences with socialized medicine.
I had 4 skin lesions removed. I ended up going to the Hospital not a private clinic...long story! The doctor is a long time personal friend and could only see me there. Our health department clinics in the US look better then this hospital did! In walks a gringa and her husband, walking through the maze of halls... People were staring like we were from Mars, or maybe the first wave of the Imperial Invasion! It made me giggle. I wanted to sing The Star Spangled Banner! You should have seen the looks on the peoples faces! LOL! And, where were Michael Moore's cameras????
In the states it would have been a minor outpatient surgery. Here I was treated in the ER in a cubicle with three examination beds. We were head to foot , head to foot, head to foot!!! If you notice, I am the only one with a sheet (paper) on my bed. Made some friends during the 2 hour process. My husband became the surgeon's assistant and even regulated the other ladies IV flow since no one else came to do it. At one point, my husband nor the doctor could find the betadine, one of the other patient sat up and pointed, saying, "It's right there in that old dish detergent bottle!" And so it was!
We actually kept our small dispensary in the jungle better stocked with first aid supplies then the ER examination rooms here in the main hospital of the city . We did make sure the doctor used NEW gloves and needles. They did not have the appropriate size scalpel, or sutures. A long scavenger hunt evolved until we found something suitable. As for bio hazardous material...into an old paint bucket!!
It is important to realize that this is not the fault of the medical staff, it is a result of corruption and socialization of the medical system. I have great respect for most Venezuelan doctors. They often perform medical miracles with nothing much to work with. Trabajan con las uñas.Even in the states I try to get a Latin doctor as I find them to be more personable and less rushed with their patients. We jokingly say we prefer to use doctors whose names have a "Z" in them.. Like:
Gotta luv Socialism!!!