Having a very difficult time sleeping after witnessing what I did today. Not to mention, having a tough time just putting it onto paper. It is now 2:48 am in the morning here in Vietnam, images of today's activities still haunting my thoughts and canceling any hope of trying to catch some sleep.
On the attempt to learn more of the state of healthcare in Vietnam, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to tour a few of their hospitals today. Nothing would prepare me for the situation we were walking into. Like most countries, it is a two sector healthcare with private and government hospitals. The government is now administering combined aspects of both Eastern and Western medicine although they are working on trying to establish a universal healthcare plan that will eventually cover all Vietnamese with a basic healthcare. At this time the Vietnamese citizen has to pay for all healthcare in both public and private facilities. Since the average monthly Vietnamese salary is almost $300.00USD a month, this secures that a very large percentage of Vietnamese only have the ability to receive care at the very large less expensive public hospitals. Although the Staff and the surgeons came acoss as very good and extremely intune with today's medical requirements, the amount of patients awating or being administered care was staggering. Many of the hospitals were situated in a way so the hallways were either outside or designed in a manner that the outside breeze kept both the rooms and the hallways cool. Except, how cool can it be? It is summer here in Vietnam, average temperature about 90F and 90% humidity and monsoon like rains occuring every afternoon.
Because of the lack of space in the hospital every corner is being utilized all hallways were filled back to back with hospital beds each room which is only serviced to hold possibly 4 patients at most and at now the average number of patients in one room was in the 10's and 12's. We are told the nation has 25 beds for every 10,000 people.
The hospital is also not really equipped or set to feed meals to the patients, so all food is coming in is expected to be the responsibility of the patient's family members. That being said no family member wants to leave their loved one alone, so also in every room and scattered among the beds in the hallways are the patient's families.
At no time did you see anyone complaining of the situation or really upset in any manner, they both, patients and the healthcare providers, appeared to have accepted this type of care as the standard and were just greatful to have the opportunity to be in a hospital. Both the Doctors and Nurses were also very happy to be there and commented to me at one facility that just at that one hospital, they did over 10,000 procedures in a year.
It once again sent home in a way I was absolutley not expecting, how lucky we are in the United States. To not only be able to receive care from the some of the best healthcare providers in the world but also the best hospitals and medical practices. Are society won't even accept two patients in a room as standard care if we can help it no less 12. Again We are Blessed! and about so many things!