The post below was written by a friend of mine, a Kuwaiti doctor currently living and working/training in Montreal.
Recently, posts on twitter and many blogs including this one have featured a text message appearing on peoples phones as a random statement that Mental health facilities are available in Kuwait (pictured above). I’m sure that the idea was a good one, unfortunately there was no information on how to get in contact with people who can help (no email, website or hotline to call).
Like many of you I met these efforts made by the ministry with heckling and criticism. In my eyes this was an imported idea that we just couldn’t get right. Granted, it’s not a major disaster but still it’s just one more thing to complain about (the national sport) and it’s not like people here in Montreal don’t have problems with their hospitals. On the contrary, if you read the papers you’d see that some of these places are nearing bankruptcy, and others are being sold off all together with staged layoffs commencing soon.
People complain in Montreal too, they complain a lot, the difference is that despite all the problems and near disasters they face here, there’s always progress being made.
We can now boast that at the Montreal General Hospital (a level 1 trauma centre) we go from the trauma bay to a whole body CT scan and to the ICU or the operating room in less than 30 minutes. You might assume that this is as a results of care considerate government planning. It isn’t, the Montreal General Hospital relies on non government foundations to provide donations on a regular basis to fund research and buy equipment that the government can’t afford. These include MRI machines, CT scanners and surgical equipment that has made the place a true monument to trauma and emergency surgery.
They don’t just wait for people to donate, they set up funds and activities to provide long term assured income annually. This year their campaign included a “dancing with the docs” event where you could sponsor doctors in a dance off and an annual raffle.
Another hospital has come up with similar events such as annual tennis tournaments and fashion and style events as well as an annual gala that honours their doctors as well as many many others (about three per season). They also have franchises open within the hospital which are obligated to donate annually (the frozen yogurt place beats anything I can find at a hospital cafeteria).
That hospital has become the first robotic cancer surgery (surgical oncology) center in the province and one of the most active in Canada. Some of it is because of the money they donate and make for the hospital but a lot of it is because we can rely on these fantastic volunteers to help moving patients, inspect rooms to make sure they’re clean and take care of elderly patients who can’t take care of them selves.
These foundations are practically built on volunteers led by the CEO of the hospital (every hospital has a CEO to handle the business side of things over here). Some of them provide administrative work, others organize activities and others actually involve themselves with patient care activities such as feeding, pet and animal therapy and patient transport as well as acting as translators throughout the hospital I don’t think these hospitals would be the centres of excellence in their fields if it wasn’t for these community led initiatives.
The generic response would be مالت علينا these people are organized and efficient and our guys can’t even run a small emergency room but the fact of the matter is that progress in hospitals in Montreal isn’t just reliant on doctors, nurses or administrators alone, it comes from the community we service.
Think of how much you and I can do to help our hospitals, maybe we can educate diabetics, help inspect rooms or just set up donation pools and funds to build initiatives and not just giant buildings or buy equipment with no further planning involved.
Trying to do this in Kuwait will take an effort on both parts, hospitals have to be willing to accept donations, volunteers and also train them while on the other hand people have to be committed to making their hospital the best they can. Success in this field is never due to one individual and I’m probably as guilty as you are for neglecting my local hospital when it is clearly in need.
Post written by Saud, a Kuwaiti doctor living and working/training in Montreal. Twitter: @saudnz