S.Africa’s Crumbling Medical Science & State Hospitals

Jan, africancrisis.org, May 30, 2007

Some of you will remember that almost 2 years ago I ended up in hospital for several days with a serious sinus problem which required surgery.

The ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) specialist who operated on me was a German Doctor who told me he had spent a lot of time in KwaZulu-Natal. He now has a practise in Johannesburg.

I liked the German because I like that thoroughness and efficiency which the Germans are known for, and which was quite evident in his approach to his patients.

My mother later had a strange dizzy spell which doctors could not treat and which I wondered if it was her inner ear. When I took her to him, he discounted these reasons and asked for a detailed MRI scan. He then said that my mother had not been taking her daily disprin which thins her blood and that she had actually had 4-5 minor strokes which were evident on the scan. He said she must take her daily disprin and just let it be and she will regain her balance after about 2 months. He turned out to be completely right.

So the German ENT specialist and surgeon has actually had me pretty impressed. During one of our discussions he told me that in the ENT arena a lot of exciting scientific progress was being made and that he feels ready to start engaging in his own medical research with Wits University.

That was more than a year ago when we had that discussion.

So today I had to visit him for a renewal of my prescription and I asked him how his research was going. Then he told me that even though he applied for an Honorary Post with Wits University 2 years ago, to this day they have not even responded to his application!

He went on to say that several of his colleagues who are good medical practitioners have also applied for such posts and heard nothing.

Then I told him about the Professor from Wits University who achieved what an orthopaedic surgeon could not when he fixed my Mom’s Carpal tunnel syndrome problem in her one hand.

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I told the ENT specialist how the Professor from Wits (who had even been operating on American troops in the Vietnam days) and other worldclass specialists had been kicked out of the State run Johannesburg General Hospital recently. {snip}

The ENT Specialist then told me that he and his colleagues have been discussing among themselves why it is that the State does not want specialists like themselves to either work in State run hospitals or engage in surgery—from which mostly Blacks would benefit anyway! Remember these guys do a lot of pro-bono or reduced-rate work for the blacks who can’t afford normal medical schemes.

He said to me, the other medical specialists and himself put it down to a lack of equipment and an unwillingness to buy modern equipment for them to work with! He said to me that the equipment he needs to perform the types of surgery he does costs about R1 million and he does not think that the State wants to spend so much on equipment—so they would rather do without the skills of specialists like himself, the Professor and others!

The ANC as always, puts the cart before the horse. They ignore certain things . . . like the growth of our medical science and they refuse to invest in new equipment in our hospitals and then . . . eventually we lose out on this knowledge and these potential scientists may even leave this country—not to mention the many thousands of people (mostly black) who would have benefited from their expertise.

We have some real FIRST CLASS, FIRST WORLD intellect in this country—many scientists who if they were given a chance would do world class work. Remember Dr Chris Barnard who did the first heart transplants?

Wits University itself used to be excellent.

These State run hospitals of ours are collapsing ever more. Thank God for private hospitals and for capitalism. That is all that keeps us going.

Just yesterday, THE STAR newspaper had a front-page article saying that Johannesburg General Hospital and Baragwanath (the biggest hospital in the world—also built by Apartheid) are going downhill. They no longer have the expertise to keep their trauma units open at all times. So now they alternate and each weekend one of them closes its trauma units. The newspaper mentioned how they battle to keep the 20 patients in trauma alive because of lack of skills!!

Back in September 2005, I wrote about the despicable way the ANC is running Baragwanath which is the biggest hospital in the world. It is probably the finest humanitarian product of Apartheid—a product the likes of which the ANC has never even come close to matching and most likely never will. Apartheid is always remembered for its supposed cruelty to blacks, but nobody ever mentions this incredible state-of-the-art hospital built by Apartheid primarily for the blacks of Soweto and which has been going DOWNHILL UNDER BLACK RULE!

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The ANC bugger up the beautiful infrastructure of the most advanced country the African continent ever knew. Everything they touch they turns into a mess. They ignore things whites did, then things fall into a state of disrepair.

Then later, when everything is falling apart the blacks try to fix it but by then too much damage is done. Management by Crisis is a black speciality and it doesn’t work! Jan.

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