Differences Exist in Health Care Too

Veronica Fernandez
Veronica Fernandez

These days I’ve been thinking a lot about the hospital care in my country and I have noticed considerable differences that exist between one hospital and another.

I’ve had personal experiences very recently, first when my deceased mother was in the Dr. Luis Diaz Soto Naval Hospital on the east side of Havana and now in the Hermanos Ameijerias Hospital in the city center, where my uncle, my mother’s only living brother in Cuba, is hospitalized. Both hospitals are part of the Cuban public health system; however, they are very different.

Hermanos  Ameijeiras Hospital
Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital

Why is that the case? We’re not talking about facilities in different Cuban provinces where one might think those differences exist. I’m talking about two excellent hospitals in the capital which are reference points and teaching hospitals, beside the fact that their medical and paramedical staff are highly qualified, capable of competing with any first world facility.

Why is it that in the first hospital (the Diaz Soto) they don’t allow patients to have a person accompanying them in the intensive care ward and in the other, Hermanos Ameijerias, they allow it full time?

How is it possible that in one there is sometimes only one inexperienced nurse for an entire ward of patients needing special care, while in the other there may be one nurse for each patient? What’s the reason that in one, the patients receiving intensive therapy are given personal hygiene products and in the other they aren’t?

Why is there a psychologist in one intensive therapy ward that visits the patients and family members daily and in the other hospital that doesn’t exist?

These are questions I’ve had while spending these days with my uncle in the Ameijeiras Hospital and no matter how much I ask the doctors and nurses, no one can give me a convincing answer. Some say it’s because the Almeijeiras is an international hospital; others say that each director has their way of managing the hospital.

In reality, I haven’t been able to understand the marked difference in our Cuban public health system, since both the Diaz Soto and Ameijeiras have the same status. Which makes me wonder: what must the hospitals be like in the provinces?

Yes, it’s true that Cuba has earned international prestige for its medical attention. Notwithstanding, I‘ve got a lot of questions in my head about the differences I’ve experienced and about which I couldn’t get a decent answer.

That led me to think: If my uncle didn’t have his grandson working in the Ameijeiras, he wouldn’t have been able to “enjoy” this splendid service because by his residence he would have had to go to the Diaz Soto, like my mother.

Need I say more?