The pregnant woman is sent from Gjirokastra to Saranda to give birth via caesarean surgery. Hospital Director: We are surrendered before such a problem, even for a simple surgery the patient is sent to the Saranda or Fier Hospital.
By Telnis Skuqi
GJIROKASTËR – The husband of the patient G.K. does not want to remember the vicissitudes that his wife passed in Gjirokastra Maternity, the later was prepared to become mother for the second time. “Lord, do not dare to become a parent because the health buries you”, says Arben Kola, the husband of G.K., 33 years old, a typist by profession. His concern has to do with the lack of the reanimation physician at Gjirokastra Maternity Hospital, while his wife could not give birth to the baby without surgery. “I do not want to discuss about the scandalous conditions, this is another story, but how can you keep silent, when my wife’s life was at risk due to lack of a reanimation physician”, says Kola.
The husband of the 33 year old woman reminds that death and life have been their fellow travellers for two days during the last week of February. “My wife was unable to bring into life our second child as she needed to undergo the surgery. Unfortunately there was no reanimation doctor”, says Kola, while adding that thanks to his brother in law’s skills, the three of them, plus the baby, have travelled to Saranda Maternity to bring to life their second daughter.
According to him, the adventure did not end, as there is no end to the problems of the health system. “The Gjirokastra Maternity abandoned me. No ambulance was available for the patient”, says Kola. He is part of those people who do not want to believe that the health service suffers for a “needle”. “For a ‘needle’ I’ve spent the hair of my scalp. To the pocket he shows you at least 500 Euros. There is no greater shame that a patient laid to the Gjirokastra Regional Maternity Hospital gives birth to the small maternity of Saranda. This happens only in Albania “, emphasises Kola.
The lack of a reanimation doctor in the region of Gjirokastra has multiplied by zero the health service offered for free and this is very well understood by the director of the regional hospital “Omer Nishani”, Armand Mamani. “We are surrendered before such a problem,” said Mamani, adding that even for a simple surgical intervention the patient is sent to the Saranda or Fier Hospitals. According to him, the institution he leads has only one reanimation doctor, who is forced to stay 24 hours in service. “Even a robot cannot serve you for 24 hours without interruptions”, says Mamani. For the director of the Hospital of Gjirokastra, the reanimation doctor is very indispensable as in order to carry out a surgery you need his service. He is the ‘alpha’ to save the patient in case of any complication”, underlines Mamani, stressing that without the reanimation doctor, the other doctors cannot start the process of a heart surgery.
The provision that this problem might be resolved within a short period of time seems to be far, because not everyone can become a reanimation doctor. “Without fear, I can say that becoming a reanimation doctor requires many years of education and professional experience, something that does not seem to appear on the horizon,” says Mamani. According to him, they are lucky that no serious road accident or natural disasters have happened so far, because as Mamani says the white shirts would have had it impossible to interfere in the patient’s body. “The failure of health would have been a guarantee”, follows Mamani.
The lack of a reanimation doctor has postponed without any deadline almost all the planned surgeries and this to the experienced surgeon, Igli Kokalari, is unacceptable. “Since two weeks the scalpel is not touched by a hand. The door of the surgery room is closed. The patients are sent to Saranda or Fier hospitals to escape the pain, whereas the serious cases are sent to Tiran by helicopter”, tells Kokalari. According to him, the lack of the reanimation doctors at the Gjirokastra Regional hospital has started to denigrated by the beginning of the new century. “It is a fact that the reanimation doctors have ‘deserted’ from the town of Gjirokastra due to the low salary and lack of dignity”, highlights Kokalari.
Another reason for this situation with the reanimation doctors in Gjirokastra according to Kokalari is the lack of medium and long term policies of the Ministry of Health. “A medical student needs at least eight years of schooling and at least five years of experience to work independently as a reanimation doctor, but there does not appear any of these specialists on the horizon so far”, underlines Kokalari while adding that the patients of the southern part will suffer even for many other years the lack of a reanimation physician.
For the surgeon Igli Kokalari the worrying problem to the health system, but also for the southern patients is the high cost on finding solutions to these health problems. “Just to transport a sick person by ambulance to Tirana are needed at least 300 dollars, to not include the remuneration of medical staff and the consumption of the vehicle. The helicopter costs tenfold. Only one return trip costs at least 3 million leke. I do not believe that the health system is so rich and gentleman towards the patients”, says the surgeon.
According to him, all those expenses that are spent in vain could be used to bring a reanimation physician from any part of Albania. “We do not miss the reanimation physicians, they are many, but there are the bad policies that are interested to spend money rather than caring about the quality of the health service”, says Kokalari. He tells that only in the last days within a week there had been two serious health incidents to patients. According to him, a pregnant woman lost her baby because there were complications due to lack of the reanimation physician. Thankfully, the mother was saved. The second case, continues Kokalari, is a patient about fifty years old, who came to the hospital with terrible pain in the abdomen, while the surgical operation was necessary to save his life. The surgeon says that the patient was saved by luck as he arrived by ambulance in a record time of two and a half hours in Tirana.
Kostandin Hido, the only reanimation physician in the region of Gjirokastra considers as worrying the lack of the specialist doctors. He says that there are needed at least five reanimation physicians to cope with the situation. According to him, God has been with him, because until now there have been no serious accidents. “My life is shortened. I work day and night and I am stressed. Do not expect me to provide quality, while in health is absolutely forbidden the quantity”, says Hido, who specifies that during the first two months of this year 15 patients have travelled to the capital due to lack of the reanimation physician, whereas when there is missing a doctor, 7 patients are sent to the Tirana hospitals every week. “The situation is alarming. The Hospital Directorate has guaranteed to bring a new reanimation physician, but I do not believe as I have not believed in the past seven years, as new physicians come, stay a few months and then leave to Tirana”, says Hido. Until a solution will be given to this issue, the burden will fall to the patients that are coming to get the first aid to the Gjirokastra hospital, where unfortunately this service is nearly impossible to be provided.
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