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Got wasta, save life   

Kuwait Times - 01 May, 2012
Author: Waleed Al-Ghanim

In May 2011, a Kuwaiti couple were advised by a doctor in a private medical clinic to seek better treatment (for their son’s medical condition) from the public hospital that is equipped with more advanced medical equipment. They took his advice, and reached Al-Sabah Medical Zone where they were given a doctor’s appointment for the month of September.

They went to the hospital on time, but were told by the Ministry of Health (MoH) doctor that an error had occurred, resulting in taking an appointment with the wrong clinic. This doctor helped them get an appointment with the right one, and that was for the month of December.

The parents waited, and reached the clinic on time. However, they found that the doctor was unavailable, or so they were told. They were transferred to another doctor who allotted a new appointment date for March 2012 with a “specialized medical consultant.”

Once again, the parents had to wait and then report for their doctor’s appointment. But, yet again, the ‘consultant’ was not available during the time. They waited for an hour and a half until the (supposedly) new doctor showed up and told them that he will allot a new appointment next May at another clinic where they will be given a date for a suitable surgery. This time, the couple were told that fresh appointment will be allocated to them for the morning slot.

The parents, however, decided that they had had enough after nine months during which their child received no proper treatment at public medical facilities. One day, they read a newspaper ad for a new private clinic opened by the same doctor for whom their appointment was six months ago. They called up the number given in the ad, and were soon given an appointment within 48 hours in lieu of money paid equal to child support allowance paid by the government to citizens.

They went to the private clinic, received proper medical care and level of attention that was never seen during the nine month-period they began seeking an appointment at a public hospital.

The consultant said that the public hospital they went to had committed four errors. Firstly, they failed to open a new file for their son’s case before fixing an appointment date. Secondly, they were referred to the wrong clinic. Thirdly, they failed to allot a date for a surgery which is supposed to be given on the first visit. Finally, they allotted an appointment in the morning, usually allotted for non-Kuwaitis. Kuwaiti patients are given afternoon appointments.

The doctor diagnosed the disease properly and asked them to go back to the public hospital. They did so, and were given a date for July 2013. Eventually, the two Kuwaiti parents found a strong wasta (influence) – an expatriate nurse offered to help them reduce the waiting time from 13 months to only three weeks, but of course the offer didn’t come free.

The parents accepted the offer and the child underwent surgery, feeling ‘grateful’ for the ‘good care’ the Ministry of Health (MoH) administered to their child! — Al-Qabas
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