Third World Socialized Medicine

Copyright Ruth Kongaika My babies in a third world country.
Copyright Ruth Kongaika My babies in a third world country.

As I have watched our new US President, Obama, I have become more and more worried for our country. It seems he wants to steer us towards social medicine. I really hope that is not the case. I will tell you about my experience with this kind of medicine.

After the birth of my first child in the United States, my husband and I moved to a third world country. When my child got sick, instead of making an appointment with a doctor, our only choice was to head for the hospital. There was only one hospital to serve several thousand people.

We were lucky to only wait three hours. There were no comfortable chairs to sit on. They had concrete slaps in rows that we could sit or sleep on. There were so many coughing, feverish and injured people waiting. We worried that for sure that if our child was not really sick, for sure she would be after we left.

After the long wait to see a doctor, we were taken into a small room with a doctor who was also trained in a third world country. If we needed a blood test, the closest lab was miles away and the results would come in two weeks or so.

When the prescriptions were written out and we headed to the pharmacy, which was also in the hospital, we usually received medicine that was already expired having been donated from a charitable organization in the United States or elsewhere. There was a nurse who acted as a doctor sometimes who we jokingly called Dr. Aspro (Aspirin) since that was all she ever prescribed no matter what your illness was. It seems funny now, and we laughed about it at the time, but honestly it was very pathetic.

Less than a year after we moved to the third world country, I had my second child. This was a shocking experience for me. The hospital was full and I ended up having my baby out in the waiting area. I had several people I had never met before gawking at me as I gave birth.

The hospital had neither disposable diapers nor nursery. They made all the mothers wake up at 5:00 am to go and bathe their babies in cold water. My baby had gastroenteritis and cried most of the time, and there was no one to check on him. I honestly went home from the hospital with a 103 degree fever. Family members are expected to take care of the patients in the hospital, and I had none of my own family living there. My husband’s parents were living in New Zealand.

When the baby was two months old we traveled to New Zealand to visit his grandparents and to seek medical assistance. New Zealand was supposed to have much better health care than where we were living. The one thing I did notice is that they do take very good care of mothers and babies. They have what they call Plunket nurses. Plunket is a community-based organization unique to New Zealand providing knowledgeable, confident and loving families care for free services that help to ensure young children. Strong networks of clinical staff and volunteers work together in communities across the country to provide support for parents and whānau with children up to 5 years of age.

While we were in New Zealand I made appointments with several different doctors. Each one told me that I should not have another baby because I was diagnosed with Diastisis recti, which is a medical disorder that involves a separation of the right and left rectus abdominus muscle. It commonly occurs during pregnancy due to the expanding uterus under the abdominal musculature.

http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/womensissues/qt/DiastisisRecti.htm

I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I was only 23 and already finished having all of my children, so I held off making a final decision until I could return to the United States. The doctors in America told me that although I did have a problem, I should be able to have more children. I did end up having two more children and would be very sad without them. What if I had only listened to the doctors in New Zealand?

My third child was born in America and I was so grateful to be back in America. The medical system may have many problems, but the comparison between my experiences in a third world country and the one I had in the United States were like night and day.

I hope President Obama will be able to make the right decisions regarding this very important issue.

I apologize if my comments insult any one. I am just telling it the way it was. You are welcome to add your comments below.

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Comments 17 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

That is quite depressing Tanika, since I am of the older generation. I hope you are wrong about that, but probably you are correct. Thanks for commenting.


Tanika 5 years ago

I agree, i like obama but we havv the best healthcare amd the only reason they want reform is so the goverment will make more money and they can kill off the older generation, my opinon


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I guess you would know more since you have lived with social medicine for much longer. Yes, the United States has great medical care if you can pay for it. Thanks for your comments Lewis.


Lewis 6 years ago

Im from New Zealand. US may have the best healthcare system.. for those fortunate enough to be on higher incomes. Unfortunately this system comes at the expense of ethical inequality.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

You are right Peggy. My experience was quite extreme but that is what it was, an experience. Hopefully things won't get that bad in the USA.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

As an American I too feel that our medical system can be improved upon.........but don't "throw the baby out with the bathwater!" Bankrupting the country will help no one! So far the government run programs like social security, medicare, medicaid and even the post office are all on that path of insolvency.

I also have written a hub about my experiences regarding medical care in the U.S. when it concerns "free" government care.

Changing the subject...Vancouver and Vancouver Island...great places! :-)


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I believe Canada is way ahead of some third world countries and glad that you have a helpful system with your family needs. I wrote a hub recently about Vancouver Island in Canada. I have a friend that visited Hawaii from there. It sounds so beautiful. Hope to be able to visit there soon. Aloha!


raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

I appreciate the sharing of your experiences. I live in Canada and we do have socialized medicine - it makes me feel very grateful that it is a far cry for the better from what you experienced in other countries. As a caregiver for my husband and the mother of a young adult daughter who was diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer I have had more than my fair share of experience with "our system". It's not perfect - but then, neither is life! I do feel blessed though to have the system we do.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I totally agree with you MikeNV. America currently has the best health care, but there is still much that can be improved. Needs to be handled correctly, though. Living in a third world country did make me appreciate what America has even more. Aloha.


MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 6 years ago from Henderson, NV

The United States does in fact have the very best health care in the World. No one is close. The problem is the cost to access that Health Care prohibits all but the most wealthy in our society to access it. When Senator Kennedy was Diagnosed with Brain Cancer he was in North Carolina in front of the Worlds Best Specialist by the end of the week.

The average Joe gets diagnosed and he's lucky to get into see anyone who is available assuming he has insurance and is on some Doctors plan.

Socialized medicine will not change this.

Health Care needs to be addressed one issue at a time with regulation and sensible allocation. The Insurance industry is top heavy and operating monopolies in many areas. Why do we need for profit health insurance companies? Why do not-for-profit health insurers pay executives millions of dollars?

There are a lot of abuses in the industry, and just creating socialized insurance is not going to change that.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks LianaK for your comments. I fear for our country too.


LianaK profile image

LianaK 7 years ago

Whoever Tai is--please don't act like you have all the answers--cause you don't! American healthcare system is expensive, does need to change--but not to the extent that the current administration is recommending. I am a nurse and a doctorate student at present. The changes that they are recommending are NOT going to work and will BANKRUPT the country. You get it right!!! We do not need socialized medicine!!!

Ruth, I have also lived in several third world countries and this has also been my experience. While we may not be able to compare the American healthcare to third world countries, it is interesting to hear other people's experiences. Thank you so much for sharing yours.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 7 years ago

Great hub. You have every right to tell your personal story with socialized medicine. We do have the best medical care in the world, but it is not perfect. Trashing the entire system and driving doctors from practicing is a prescription for disaster. Keep on hubbing.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you all for your comments. I was merely telling my experiences with socialized medicine and indeed I was in a very poor third world country. I haven't lived in France or Sweden or the Netherlands. Guess I will do more homework before I speak on controversial political issues. Thanks for your advice.


concerneddoctor 7 years ago

hello, we need to compare like to like, Third world countries have poor health because they are POOR countries, France has a social health care system (rated one of the best countries for health by the WHO in 2000, America ranked very low compared to other developed countries. Most expensive is not best. It all has to do with how we chose to fund healthcare. If you are looking for social methods, look at countries like Sweden, Netherlands, France, who all have social methods. Is is important that Americans EDUCATE themselves on the world around them.


Tai 7 years ago

WE DON'T HAVE THE BEST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD, WE HAVE THE MOST EXPENSIVE, GET IT RIGHT


Isileli 7 years ago

yes I do no know why we need to reform the best health system the planet. We pray that Obama and the progressives will make the right kind of change. Cheers

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