Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Medical Professionals should be taught to be more COMPASSIONATE!

Letters begging for help and support for my advocacy.

The following letter written to the Chairman of the BOT of SUMCFI has remained unanswered up until now.

I am feeling discouraged. I feel so alone in my quest for that elusive meaning. I have sought aid from almost everyone, even from the princes of the Catholic Church, but all seemed to have turned deaf to my pleas.

A few have heard my pleas though. Various local media practitioners have published my story in their newspapers, particularly Mr. Ely Dejaresco, Editor and Publisher of the Negros Chronicle. A copy of the letter addressed to him is also provided here.



31 May 2006

MR. RICARDO A. BALBINO, JR.
President / CEO
Philippine Veterans Bank

In his capacity as --

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI)
Dumaguete City

SIR:

I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SUMCFI. Please spare me a moment of your time. Please read my letter.

My name is Olga Lucia A. Uy. I am a mother who lost my second child by miscarriage last May 9, 2006. Due to my infertility problem, to conceive a child is not easy for me. I was therefore devastated by my loss because I prayed hard for that baby. I had considered my spontaneous pregnancy as a manifestation and an affirmation of God’s loving presence in our lives. But that child was not meant for us.

On the same morning that I miscarried, I took my dead baby to Silliman University Medical Center for biopsy. I handed my little one to a medical technologist. After he received the so-called “specimen”, he handed it to a co-employee and said to him: “O, ihi-i ni.” (“Here, you urinate on this.”)

I was crushed. I was devastated. I was like a huge, gaping, bleeding wound at that time, and he trampled over my grief and my sorrow with his carefree callousness and unthinking disregard for my feelings. My pain was magnified a thousandfold because of his inconsiderate remark.

The act of taking my lost baby to your hospital for the biopsy would have been my final act of closure. I have already submitted to God’s will that that baby was not for us, and I was getting ready to move on. But that uncaring act committed by your employee left me with an emotional wound that refuses to heal. I am now left hanging over an emotional abyss, constantly asking questions, and endlessly searching for the greater meaning and purpose behind the pain that continues to gnaw at my heart.

Why am I writing to you now? Why make a big deal out of my miscarriage of an embryo that is not even human in form yet, when women all over the world have it everyday, even deliberately?

Let me tell you. I learned I was pregnant on April 26. I had my miscarriage on May 9. How many days were that? Until now, I have not determined that. But it does not really matter, because during that very short period of time, the baby inside my womb was as real to me as my daughter Abby. Had that baby been born a girl, I would have called her Maria, in honor of our Holy Mother. Her nickname would have been MAIA. She would have been my little bird. But she never got her chance to fly. Her wings were broken too soon.

I wanted that baby so much and losing my little one broke my heart. I am certain that you have children and that you love them too. You are not just the nameless and faceless members of the SUMCFI Board of Trustees. You are people and you have feelings. I refuse to believe that you cannot understand what I am going through.

On the emotional level, I am devastated. Although I can be seen around seemingly carrying on with my life, inside me, I am in turmoil and there is no peace in my heart.

On the spiritual level, I am shocked. Because of that incident within SUMC, I realized how far gone MOST of us, God’s people, seemed to have drifted away from our Creator. And what really scared me was the realization that seemingly, we do not even realize what is happening to us.

What happened within your walls may have been a small isolated event. But on the other hand, it could be reflective of what has happened to us as the people of God, how we seemed to have lost our awe and amazement over God's power to grant the miracle of life. We see this almost everyday in the news, about fetuses dumped together like garbage in a barrel, or burned instead of being given a proper burial as befitting God’s creation. The loss of our love and respect for the Lord Almighty is reflected by the loss of our respect for all of HIS CREATIONS, great or small, whatever its form may be.

And maybe, this was what happened to that medtech. To him, my baby was only “specimen”, a mass of dead “tissue”. It never occurred to him that that “specimen” was a manifestation of God’s awesome power.

It saddens me to see how impersonal institutions like HOSPITALS have become. MOST people who work in hospitals seem to have lost touch with the fact that patients and their companions are HUMAN BEINGS too. We are not simply “cases” for them to attend to. We have feelings just like them. When we come to the hospitals, it is because we NEED to be there. We are often troubled, anxious, scared, in pain. We have money troubles as well. Hospitalization, doctors’ fees and medicine = LOTS OF MONEY. And that is something that not too many of us have in abundance.

MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER HOSPITAL WORKERS SHOULD BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED OF THIS FACT SO THAT THEY WILL BE MORE CONSIDERATE OF OUR FEELINGS NEXT TIME WE COME TO THEM.

I also deplore the shabby treatment I have had so far from SUMCFI since our May 9 “incident”. I am not seeking to be treated as a VIP, but being a person, I expected to be given a DECENT, or at the very least, a courteous treatment by your administrators, as should be expected from professionals such as they are. For instance, I expected them, this being the proper procedure, to give me, or at least the lawyer who represents me, a formal notification regarding the disciplinary action taken against your erring employee. Instead, we learned about all that from a local newspaper, the Negros Chronicle.

While I was still at the height of my emotions, I wanted a public apology from the Board of Trustees. Now that reason has returned to me, I realize that I am being unreasonable in that regard for reasons that are apparent to all of us.

I also do not want any ulterior motives to be attributed to me. I am not seeking to profit from you in any manner. THE THOUGHT OF MAKING MONEY OUT OF MY GRIEF IS ABHORRENT AND REVOLTING TO THE VERY CORE OF MY BEING. You have to believe me.

I am now committed into turning my grief to an ADVOCACY, to ask you, the members of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI) to publicly commit that you would implement a true, intensive and sustained VALUES FORMATION PROGRAM among your medical professionals and other employees. I am hoping that through this program, you will reawaken MOST of your people to what is truly essential:

· That in their profession, their mission is not only to heal the human body, but also to soothe the battered soul of those who come to them;

· But more importantly, I am hoping that through my advocacy, your people will be reminded that there is a God above whom we should love and honor in every little thing that we do.

What am I trying to say? Just this. Please keep reminding your people through the Values Formation Program about:

a) Proper observance of basic good manners. They need to be guided about what is appropriate conduct as they deal with patients (and their companions); and

b) The giving of appropriate regard for the feelings of the people who come to them for medical help.

HOSPITAL WORKERS NEED TO BE PROPERLY TRAINED ABOUT HOW TO CARE AND HOW TO SHOW COMPASSION AND COURTESY TO THE DYING, THE DEAD AND THE BEREAVED AS WELL, so that the pain that I went through in the hands of one of your employees will never happen to anyone ever again.

Being a medical institution, your people encounter this almost everyday. They need to be prepared to handle these situations appropriately. The employee who mistreated me and my child, obviously, was not. And there are more among your ranks.

May I also suggest that signs and slogans be posted in hospital premises and all the rooms and wards. Maybe, something that goes like this: “CARE, CONCERN AND COMPASSION ARE OUR MISSION. Please report discourteous employees to the Hospital Administrator immediately. Contact ________.”

Is that too much to ask for? After all, I asked nothing for myself. Please take my word. This is my advocacy. This is not an attack against SUMCFI, nor is this an attempt to destroy its reputation. I only want to see something positive coming out from my grief, something that will benefit the most number of people, including SUMCFI itself.

Please do not ignore me. For the sake of everything that is good in each one of you, I am asking you to listen to me. Do not dismiss and set aside my experience as an isolated event. It is not. One of your employees caused me great pain. I am hurting until now. Please do something so that nobody else will hurt as I did.

I have nothing to gain except to find the meaning and the reason behind my tears. I just want to understand why God gave a precious life to me, only to take it back so soon. I need to find the reason why I have to go through this anguish.

Right now, there is no peace in my heart. But I will find that peace once I have found my meaning. Your commitment to start a Values Formation Program within SUMC will be that greater meaning. Only then will you see a grieving mother find closure over the loss of her much prayed-for child.

Thank you so much for listening. May God bless us all.



Very Respectfully yours,


OLGA LUCIA A. UY



This letter was published in the May 21, 2006 issue of the Negros Chronicle (www.negroschronicle.com):

14 May 2006

To: MR. ELY DEJARESCO
Editor-Publisher
The Negros Chronicle

Attn: MR. BINGO DEJARESCO

Dear SIRS:

I finished reading the loving and very tender tribute of MR. BINGO DEJARESCO to mothers. This prompted me to write and share my story, seeing in him a sensitive soul who truly appreciates, in his own words, “the immensity of a mother’s love for children that reason may find difficult to justify”.

In this regard, may I humbly ask you to spare a moment of your time to read my open letters relating a personal tragedy that broke my heart, a mother’s heart, many times over, leaving me searching for answers and meaning for my pain that is almost too hard to bear.

By coming to know my story, I hope and I pray, that with your powers as an esteemed members of the media and of the community, you will use my personal tragedy as a vehicle and an instrument, a catalyst that will cause an upheaval in the minds and hearts of our people, prompting them to ask the following searching questions to themselves and to each other:

· what has become of us as a people of God?

· HAVE WE TRULY LOST OUR AWE AND AMAZEMENT OVER GOD’S POWER TO GRANT THE MIRACLE OF LIFE?

· We hear about fetuses being dumped together in a barrel. WHERE HAS OUR RESPECT FOR GOD’S CREATION GONE?

· Have we become no better than a pack of wild animals? WHERE IS OUR REGARD FOR THE HUMAN SOUL?

What happened to me may be an isolated incident. Or it may not be. Maybe it is representative of what has happened to us a people, and we do not even realize it yet.

I am just OLGA, an overweight housewife in Dumaguete City, with no political connections or professional title, nor do I have any claim to power, wealth, or influence. I am pretty ordinary. You will not even notice me in a crowd. I am nobody yet I am everybody. You see me, or the likes of me, at Lee Plaza or in the market, or in the Church. I am everywhere.

Firstly, I am representative of countless women who have not been graced by God with the privilege of MOTHERHOOD. Unlike most though, God granted me a daughter with the aid of modern science. And for this I am very thankful. But I still have my condition of infertility. To have another child is a constant spiritual, emotional and financial struggle for my husband and myself.

But there are thousands, if not millions out there, who constantly despair in their longing for a child. Please speak for us and give us a voice. Please tell them we want to say this: to all those women who are more fortunate than we are, kneel before God and thank Him for the privilege He has given you. Treasure that gift. Not everyone is as lucky as you are. Don’t despair when you find out you are going to have another child. Don’t think of that child as an additional financial burden. Instead, welcome that child as God’s miracle at work in your family.

To all young people out there, don’t let a mistake or indiscretion ruin you before the eyes of God. Let that child live. You may not realize that now, but you are BLESSED.

Secondly, I am representative of those people, who, in one way or another, have been “victimized” at how impersonal institutions like HOSPITALS have become. MOST people who work in hospitals have lost touch with the fact that patients and their companions are HUMAN BEINGS. We are not simply “cases” for them to attend to. We have feelings too. When we come to the hospitals, it is because we NEED to be there. We are troubled, anxious, scared, in pain. We have money troubles too. Hospitalization, doctors and medicine = LOTS OF MONEY.

Sirs, please tell them to keep that in mind next time they meet with any one of us, the countless, faceless MASA who flock through their doors.

There is obviously a problem, AS ILLUSTRATED BY MY ONE PAINFUL ENCOUNTER WITH A HOSPITAL STAFF. And the hospital administrators/management NEEDS TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM.

That is why I am committed into turning my grief into an ADVOCACY that will push for change, at least, with SILLIMAN MEDICAL CENTER, for starters. I am REQUESTING that the BOARD OF TRUSTEES APOLOGISE TO ME IN PUBLIC. I want them to acknowledge that there is a problem and that they need to address that problem. And in view of this, I am likewise requesting that they publicly commit to implement an intensive and sustained VALUES FORMATION PROGRAM. I am basically challenging them to TEACH THEIR EMPLOYEES BASIC GOOD MANNERS.

Is that too much to ask for? After all, I asked nothing for myself. Please take my WORD. I AM NOT INTO THIS FOR ANY MONEY. This is my advocacy. FOR THE GOOD OF EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE INSTITUTION ITSELF.

Sirs, if you agree that my cause is just, please be my VOICE. Speak for me. I am just Olga. Nobody will listen if I am all alone.

If together, we can get, EVEN JUST ONE PERSON to think and re-evaluate his values, or better, to move an INSTITUTION like Silliman Medical Center to realize that its mission is not only to care for the HUMAN BODY, but more importantly, to SOOTHE THE HUMAN SOUL, then the loss of our child and the resulting pain to our family, would not have been in vain. We would find that meaning and reason. I, as a mother, will find my closure.


Very Respectfully yours,


OLGA LUCIA ALINAS UY

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