Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Death without dignity in Zimbabawe

My uncles story of his sons death was touching. As we sat around the fire he told me of his loss and his grief.

His son, Jacob, had been at the cattle post for about a week but had made his way back to the city due to his ill health. Apparently he had been ill several months earlier but had made a seemingly full recover (it's amazing how often I heard that at funerals!) Upon reaching home he could barely walk or talk so my uncle immediately drove him to the main hospital in Bulawayo. Jacob was obviously seriously ill and his father genuinely believed that the hospital would be able to help him. Afterall this was Zimbabwe - for so long the bread basket of Southern Africa. My uncle knew only of a well resourced highly efficient hospital that served Bulawayo. He was broken hearted to find the hospital in a state of disrepair and filth. With no other option he checked Jacob into the ward. Jacob was taken for examination and was returned to the ward where his father awaited. My uncle was then informed that unfortunately there was no medicine available and that all the hospital could do was place Jacob under observation. My uncle was obviously shocked but said he felt that at least the authorities would be able to look after his son. He then asked the nurses for blankets to cover his shaking and desperately ill son. He was told that there were no blankets available and that patients had to supply their own blankets. My uncle immediately drove home to get blankets but could not fathom how it could be that a hospital could not provide a desperately sick man with something to cover himself. When he arrived back he did his best to keep his son warm until in the early hours of the next morning Jacob passed away.

1 comment:

Jackal said...

I have no words.