Saturday, April 20, 2024

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Lack of compassion


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IN RECENT TIMES I have had good reason to praise some things at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as to criticise aspects of its operation.

I am at it again today largely because of a recent experience.

On Saturday I had the honour of reading the eulogy I had prepared for dear friend Cyril Griffith, whose funeral service was held at the Mount of Praise Wesleyan Holiness Church. Cyril was a faithful and devoted member of the Prospect Wesleyan Holiness Church – a simple, ordinary man who loved God and obtained great pleasure from serving others.

When he took ill after a traffic accident last month, his decline was rather rapid. He lost much of his body weight and eventually his vision, before he lost his life.

It was hard watching him dwindle from a man who cut cane for a living for close to a decade and also made a living by the sweat of his brow in construction, to a shadow of his former self, bound to his hospital bed at his hands as well as his feet.

It was sad seeing him tied up like that, but I accept that it was for his safety. What I do not understand though is the system that operates at the hospital where the meals of the patient were left at his bedside daily, I suppose in expectation that miraculously he would suddenly free himself, regain his sight and feed himself.

God bless his widow Esther, who through thick and thin, sun and rain, made it her business to journey to the hospital every day, twice a day, to feed him.

Fortunately, a number of other faithful friends made it there ahead of her some days to lovingly perform this service, at times slipping away from worship early to ensure Cyril did not go hungry.

So often we talk about lack of money and shortages of supplies at the hospital, and it is clear these are major challenges, but none of them can compare to a lack of compassion.

Perhaps constant exposure to death and suffering numbs the workers who have to deal with patients each day, but can that be an excuse for such failings? When food is delivered to a ward and the patient is tied by his hands and feet, someone has to know the only way he will eat is if someone feeds him.

By the same token, those who deliver medical care must know that even though his eyes are open, he cannot see.

No man alive today can swear to what happens when the human body dies, but I sincerely hope Cyril is in a better place, where he is not subject to the whims, fancies and lack of compassion of man.


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