Saturday, July 28, 2012

Contrasts of PNG vs USA hospital

Last week, I spent 4 nights in the hospital with my sister and my niece, while my brother-in-law was home with my nephews.  It has been 5 yrs since I have been in a US hospital and I couldn't help but find myself comparing what I now think of as normal (PNG hospital) vs what I experienced and witnessed with my sister.

She had a private room, her own bathroom/shower.  Someone came and asked her each meal what she wanted to eat and brought her food to her.  She pushed buttons to alert the nurse she needed help, or ice, or wondering when her baby could come  back from the nursery.  Their was a TV with lots of options of shows, movies and games - almost reminded me of the inflight entertainment on airplanes going from Australia to the US.  She had to wear SCDs - sequential compression devices - you wear on your legs to prevent blood clots when you are in bed.  The nurses wheeled in a big computer which then they could look up all the doctor's orders and medicines that Megan was allowed to get.  They also had to scan each medicine label and her hospital bracelet to make sure she was getting the right medicine and so record when the meds were given.  Madison had a special bracelet on her which prevented you from taking her all the way down the hall or else an alarm would sound alerting someone that there was maybe a baby being stolen.

In PNG, we have open wards with guys/girls mixed, we have a toilet block which all patients have to leave their wards to use, the pts get one kaukau (sweet potato) a day - it is their only choice, there is no entertainment only your family and other patients to talk to.  If you need an ultrasound - the doctor just brings the machine to your bedside and does it, if you need a procedure - we do it at the bedside, or take you to the ER and do what needs to be done.  We don't have lots of paperwork and charting, it is simpler in many ways and at times I wished things could be simpler for Megan too.

There is nothing wrong with how things are done in the US nor is there anything wrong with how things are done in PNG, it is just different.  I have sure come to enjoy the simplicity of medicine in PNG and the opportunity I have to care for pts without worrying about charting and paperwork and getting things approved.  I also appreciate the technology that we have in the US which allows many conditions to be found and interventions to be done sooner as well as new medicines to treat conditions that we can't in PNG.  I don't see us having computerized charts or medicine bar code scanning anytime soon in PNG, but we will continue to look for ways to improve and make our hospital more efficient and productive.