Dr Ebuka was tired, it wasn’t even 12 midnight yet and he had seen 15 patients already; he wasn’t ready for another one.
He thought longingly about his bed at home, he had bought it just before housejob, it had served him well. He looked at the sorry excuse for a bed at a corner of the doctor’s call room and wondered why he chose such a profession that was only dignified in name in this part of the world. He lifted the threadbare mattress as a cockroach jumped off, moving it directly under the fan. He turned on the switch as the familiar wrrrrring sound from the blades started, dropping some specks of dust on his white coat. He sighed.
He placed his white coat on the mattress, it would make a suitable bedsheet. The government had stopped supplying the doctors new sheets as the doctors, in their opinion had become too comfortable going as far as even daring the government by going on strike! Dr Ebuka sighed again as he slowly drifted to sleep.
He heard the footsteps but hoped they were not coming towards him.
kpo! kpo! kpo! came the repeated knocks on the call room door, Dr Ebuka struggled to open his eyes, he walked as if in a trance to open the door.
The ward maid was standing there, her tribal marks glistening under the corridor bulb as if she had specifically rubbed olive oil on the marks. She looked at him with disdain.
‘Doctor – Patient’. With that, her message delivered, she turned to leave.
Dr Ebuka sighed again, that was what medicine had turned to; nobody had regard for the doctor anymore.
Dr Ebuka hurried to see the patient that had been brought in, he checked his vital signs which had been done by the nurse on duty, she had since retired to a corner of the corridor to continue her sleep, her job having been done.
Dr Ebuka longed for the days he could order the nurse to be by his side when seeing a patient, but those days were long gone, if he tried it now, he would get a good telling off by the nurse. Nurses held all the power these days.
His attention returned to the patient, he wasn’t too bad, he just had a little fever, sorethroat and headache. Common things occur commonly, Dr Ebuka wrote out a prescription for malaria and placed the patient on observation. There was no point trying to do any lab test at this time of the night as he knew the same excuse the lab scientist would give. It was better to watch the patient and hope for the best. The patient coughed and Dr Ebuka looked at him with pity and added something to his prescription.
He shook the patient’s hand as all good doctors do, took his notes to the sleepy eyed nurse and returned to the call room.
It all happened suddenly, the ward maid came running into the room, ‘ Doctor, doctor, patient vomit everywhere, blood everywhere!’
‘ What?’ Dr Ebuka barely understood what she was saying.
‘ I say blood, blood everywhere.’ With that she ran back to the ward.
Dr Ebuka rushed out again, only to meet the patient vomiting blood.
Dr Ebuka watched as if confused, he finally regained his composure and checked for gloves.
There was no glove available, he had to write a prescription to get gloves from the pharmacy! Dr Ebuka cursed the government once again for not providing the basic minimum.
That was when he noticed a leaflet among the things by the patient’s bed.
It was on Ebola.
Dr Ebuka looked back at the patient, it was then he noticed the rashes on the patient’s skin.
He suddenly remembered the handshake, he had not worn any gloves.
He had not worn a facemask.
His white-coat was still covering the mattress.Follow me