Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Only in Dubai.

Stuck in the sun

Scores of construction workers seeking treatment for heat stroke had to wait for hours to see the doctor yesterday – in the sun.

So begins the story in 7Days.

But it gets even more farcical. A black comedy script that would be funny if it didn't involve peoples' health and safety.

More than 150 men gathered at Prime Medical Centre in Al Quoz at 9.00am yesterday to see the two doctors. But the clinic was so crowded all but 30 were forced to sit outside in the sun.

Two doctors for 150 patients?!

But wait. There's more...

Those who weren’t seen before the 1.00pm lunch break had to wait until the clinic reopened at 4.00pm.

Yes, they left a huge queue of people who needed medical assistance and went off on their siesta.

Was it a surprise that so many patients turned up? No, it's apparently quite normal...

Staff at the clinic said they have been receiving an average of about 250 patients a day since June – far too many to cope with.

“The number of patients has more than doubled during the last two months. Most of them report with heat related illnesses,” said a source at the clinic.

So why are the hordes descending on the one clinic, you might well ask.

The workers have to use Prime Medical Centre because their companies have a contract with the clinic.

Ah, so that's why.

“We come here as patients but can’t even get a glass of water to drink,” said a construction worker from ETA.

“There is no place to sit down inside and we have been waiting in the sun since morning.”

“The company would not let us go to any other hospital and it does not look like we will be able to see the doctor here today,” said another worker from ETA.

One man was rushed by ambulance to Rashid Hospital after it was determined he had suffered a heart attack while on the construction site.

A source at the clinic said the clinic normally has three doctors on duty on Mondays, but only two were working yesterday.

Six construction companies with a total of about 35,000 workers have contracts with Prime Medical Centre to provide health care, the source said.

Sorry, I've gone speechless...

The story is here


Anonymous said...

"Splutters incoherently"

trailingspouse said...

Three doctors, working say an 8 hour day, seeing 250 patients. That's 5 or 6 minutes per patient max, assuming the doctors never take a break for lunch or go to the bathroom. They will also have to complete all their paperwork for each patient (or am I just being naive) during that 5 minutes.

Interestingly, two doctors seeing 150 patients works out about the same. So in fact the day in question was nothing out of the ordinary.

Having sat out in the sun for 7+ hours without water (and presumably no food either), even if they weren't ill to begin with, they surely would be by the time they got inside.

You wouldn't treat an animal like this!

shweta said...

"Callous" is the only word that comes to mind!

Tainted Female said...

The questions is... WHY is this clinic getting all the contracts? Or I should say, WHY are they allowed to?

So they offer cheap medical. The companies want to pay the least amount. It's understandable. But shouldn't the ministry put an end to this, or force the clinic to hire more doctors so that they're capable of treating these numbers?

For the love of God & man! This is disgraceful!

Seabee said...

tainted, welcome back, we missed you.

Felicity said...

If everyone with a TV can get a glimpse and has heard of the Burj Al Arab, it can't be beyond the media to highlight these issues. Really is time for it to stop. Maybe money is too tight - how much is a barrel of oil these days?