By Paula Henriquez

imagesHAVANA TIMES — A close friend of mine told me that her little girl was told she had to go for a urine culture. The doctor at the family clinic ordered the procedure and my friend confidently went to the pediatrician so they could run the test on her daughter.

When she got there, the doctor on call told her that they only did this kind of exam on children who were hopitalized at the center. Puzzled, which is understandable, she decided to go to the town’s general hospital, where they told her they couldn’t do the test either and went on to explain that the results of these tests are different for children and adults and so she should go to the pediatrician…

Another baby also arrived at the pediatric center who was suffering from a high fever and wasn’t feeling well at all. The doctor on call examined the child and deduced that it might be a case of dengue. That person had to take their child to another hospital, where they receive and treat dengue cases. Let me tell you that after a more extensive analysis of the child’s condition, the doctor at the second hospital diagnosed a acute lung infection…

And there are an infinite number of examples just like this. The truth of the matter is that a “trip” to the pediatric hospital becomes a living hell, sometimes even worse that the initial illness that makes us go there.

Imagine having to take your child to the doctors and that when you get there, after waiting in a long line, finally, a health professional “superficially” examines your child in the consultation room. A doctor who doesn’t take his/her time to really understand the root cause for your child’s illness, that because of so and so symptoms, gives a mistaken diagnosis.

Who suffers the consequences?

When I say the pediatric hospital, I imply other health centers too. A lot of them share the same problem. What do you call it? Work done badly? A lack of interest, sensitivity, responsibility, resources? I don’t know, sometimes I give myself a real headache trying to understand why these kinds of things happen. Then I remember that similar cases exist in other aspects of society and I can’t stop thinking and realizing: everything stems from the same source.

Because when things are seriously lacking and you have to fight real hard just to get basic and essential items for everyday life, it’s normal that people get tired and worn out, that they slowly become disinterested and a whole range of antisocial and antihuman values rear their ugly heads and lead us to cause harm to one another.

However, I don’t mean to criticize the work of doctors in this piece exactly, at least not explicitly. Just like there are people who don’t take care in their jobs, there are others who dedicate themselves body and soul to doing their jobs well. To be fair, we also have to recognize that these people, without caring about their financial situation, etc. do their jobs well without hurting their fellow citizens. Similarly, many people don’t let themselves be wrapped up in everyday problems and try to treat whoever comes their way in the kindest way possible.

My intention, therefore, and it’s worth repeating, is to reflect upon and not judge these people. I don’t have the right to judge. All I’m trying to say is that if we all, or nearly all of us, are in the same boat, why can’t we respect and help each other on a day to day basis? Why do we let ourselves be carried away by the worst of our situation? Let us not be consumed by the loss of ethics, morals, sensitivity and humanity!


Paula Henriquez

Paula Henriquez: Since childhood I have been told I should be careful what I say in public. "Think before you speak, especially in front of others," my mother would say, and it was more of a plea than a scolding. Even today I hear her and I obey her, just that I do not speak, I write. Letters and words are my escape, my exit and daily catharsis, which printed on paper, revive me. And this picture is my refuge.

5 thoughts on “In Cuba: Nobody’s to Blame or Are They?

  • ….”a race of people”? I assume that you mean a country. Being Cuban is not a distinct race.

  • In Cuba, it is important to test for dengue fever when there is a lung infection.

  • TIM is obviously rambling around in a confused mind. The health care system in Canada is alive and well, providing excellent services to the community at large. The system was initiated by Tommy Douglas of Saskatchewan and adopted by the Government of Canada which admired the concept introduced by the British Government in 1848 – the first in the world and celebrated at the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremonies.
    The Native Treaties of Canada were made by “the Crown” and have been utilized by the aboriginal peoples ever since. I have had the honour of being invited to dine with two of the Native Nations Chiefs one of whose great-grandfather was a treaty signature.
    It would be interesting following TIM’s wild un-reasoned accusations, to know his view of the Spanish colonialism of South America.
    When he speaks of: “The British are creating economic disasters globally.” is he referring to his own elected Canadian Government’s policies and actions towards the native peoples? For Canada has been an independent country for well over a century. TIM and the Canadian people elected the son of a former Prime Minister as the current one, so obviously they were satisfied with the father’s policies.
    The view that the British should pay war reparations to Canada is farcical and an insult to both British and Canadians who died fighting Nazi oppression. Did TIM contribute?
    TIM obviously has no knowledge whatever of the conditions under which Cubans have to exist. He and his like babble on from the safety and security of the free capitalist world but do not choose to move to Cuba to experience communist dictatorship for themselves. They use their freedom earned by others – like those who died in two World Wars – and squeal!

  • At least you own good health care even world saving, like the ebola heroes, they should be decorated
    for that mission by the united nations for that work. In Canada where I am the health care is worse and Canadians especially the Native Aboriginals, whos British war treaties in wich they were invaded and
    war crimes took place the genocide continues on there prison reserves as they are without things the Cuban people take for granted.
    Infact the British should finally pay the war reperations to Canada so we can stop living with a deficit that defeats our health care with lack of funding.I have spoken to native elders from their committee system and they are aware that Brittian was responsible for the treaties and with the recognition of the Metis rights we in canada are unified . THE BRITISH SHOULD TRANFER GOLD AS PER ARBITRATION AS THE TREATIES ARE BROKEN and they are dying off while the British are creating economic disasters globally.
    Thank God for your heroes
    Thank You

  • Bien hecho…a well written piece of writing….i often wonder why cubans need noise in thier life…they talk in a loud voice…they play thier music loud with cheap audio sound so the music is distorted,but that does not matter.there is an expression there and i have heard it many times its called “cuban behaviour”.morales?sensitivity?humanity?they do not exist in cuban…those values have been stolen from them many years ago.they need help with specially now that things are starting to change…..my heart aches for these people of cuba….they are a race of people forgotton by time…..god help them!

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