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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Xenophobia Works Well In The Hospital System

According to the Wikipedia, Xenophobia is the unseasoned fear for that which is foreign or strange. It stems from fear of the unknown. This concept is playing out across a major city in South Africa. This, is not the meat of this article. That does not mean that Doctors Quarters Blog is not bothered about the mindless, senseless attacks on foreign black Africans; for all Africans must stand up firmly and condemn the act. It is indeed unwarranted.

Patients often come to the hospital for expert care and management. In our clime, patients generally dread going to the hospitals for many reasons, among which is poverty, ignorance. But of particular note is the Fear of the Hospital environment. Some see the hospital as a strange place to be. This strangeness is further engraved by the peculiar characteristics of a hospital. Sometimes it is the strange smell of the place, the white attire of doctors and nurses and the general 'lull', unique only to the our hospitals. It is a good fear and should be encouraged. Any taint on this fear changes it to a bad fear and the repercussions could be bad, mostly on the patient side.

Xenophobes to a hospital would react differently as each present to a hospital. A group of xenophobes would rather not present to the hospital in the first instance. I met a 55 year old patient who told me, he would rather bear the chronic pain in his left leg, than go to see an orthopaedic surgeon. His diagnosis is Osteomyelitis. He explained further that, these surgeons are only interested in cutting off parts of the body and that he would rather die with his leg on him than part with it. So, he would not go to any hospital.
 Other levels of xenophobia in the hospital environment, though of a lower degree than as described above, exists.

However, some school of thoughts believe that it is still necessary for this fear (or respect) to exist between patients and doctors. They argue that, it is only on this ground that most patients will keep to whatever the health care giver tells them to do. Generally, the paucity of information and its flow to patients, give a boost to this particular assumption. As experts, consultants, doctors, nurses and other allied health care people, harness this age long phenomenon for the good of the patient.

This is where Fear has been converted to Force, a force that can only be inspired between a patient and her\his doctor. Xenophobia is actively ravaging parts of South Africa and indeed passively, in other parts of the world, but it has actually been on, albeit subtly, in the hospital systems of the world, especially here in Nigeria.
I believe every healthcare giver should use the xenophobic tool, with a blend of other tools, to render the best of services to patients... they deserve the best!!!!