Thursday, October 24, 2013

Getting an Ultrasound in Cuba

Getting an Ultrasound in Cuba
October 23, 2013
Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — The receptionist at the polyclinic kindly explained to me
that the ultrasound request I'd brought had been filled out incorrectly,
for, according to her, it wasn't possible to examine the liver,
gallbladder, bladder, kidneys and biliary tracts in a single ultrasound

I would have to go see my nephrologist (who sees patients every fifteen
days) and ask her to fill out several ultrasound requests. Then, I would
need to come back to the polyclinic and make different appointments for
the different ultrasounds, which would be separated by roughly a month each.

All of this left me bewildered. The waiting time for these procedures
would also be coupled with the bureaucratic delays involved in the
transactions between polyclinics from different municipalities.

Luckily, our family is friends with a doctor who always helps us
whenever we run into such problems. I don't like to depend on these
types of "contacts", but, sometimes, one doesn't have any other choice.

While waiting for the ultrasound, I read the note our doctor friend
wrote: "Patient with nephrocolic of the right kidney….," a string of
technical jargon indicating the size and characteristics of the kidney

There are about ten other patients waiting around me. Those who've gone
in haven't taken longer than ten minutes to come out. It's a relatively
quick procedure, so I don't understand why one has to go through so much
to get an appointment.

I know that most of the ultrasound machines at the polyclinics around
the municipality are broken (in Alamar, there's only one that works). I
know this equipment is expensive and difficult to repair. I also know
that Cuba has a much harder time getting its hands on this type of
technology than other countries. Most importantly, I haven't forgotten
all medical attention is subsidized by the State.

I know all this, but, even so, I have to say things aren't working as
they should, that there's too much red tape and that run-of-the-mill
citizens still get too much of a run-around to get certain healthcare

I am not an economist or a doctor, so I don't have a solution to this
problem. I am merely a young man who, for the time being, has a friend
who helps him in these situations. But what about those who don't?

Source: "Getting an Ultrasound in Cuba - Havana" -

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