Psssst! Something happened to me and I saw the future. The end is not nuclear and its not aquatic. It’s human beings willfully leaving their brothers and sisters to die, for money.
Let me explain. I was taken off a passport line in Nassau, Bahamas, suffering from severe dehydration. American Airlines would not let me fly and rightly so. They put me and my husband in an ambulance to Princess Margaret Hospital, the great killing machine of the Bahamas.
In the waiting room, gurneys are everywhere, end-stage AIDS and Alzheimer’s patients, smeared with their own feces, lay groaning and screaming. They get up and wander around and all the nurses and doctors do is call security. I saw a dead man on a gurney – no way that man was a color that could have sustained life – with his dinner of baked chicken leg and rice strewn all over his body. In fact, bodies are stacked up in every hallway, waiting to be delivered to another part of the hospital or to the morgue.
After 5 hours, a little man – he’s a nurse it turns out – appears all sweaty and beleaguered and begins taking blood pressure readings and everyone’s temperature. It is the first time anyone has asked my name — in five hours. He turns my rehydration tube back on – it’s the first liquid I’ve been given in 5 hours – and that’s it. I will find him again before I leave and tell him what I think of him.
They take me to the back of the hospital and once again ask me my name and begin filling out a form. A mother is chasing her son who is wrapped in bloody bandages up and down a hall. A janitor, complete with milky eyeball, pushes a broom in front of me, asking me to pick up my feet every two minutes. Then, I have the vision thing.
THIS is how the world ends; doctors who no longer care if people live or die. THIS is how the world ends, with a country whose GDP is 40% tourism, but lets cab drivers and boat operators and waiters die without a thought to them. This is how the world ends, with a Prime Minister, a Minnesota educated physician. who comes home to kill his people.
So this is it. The poor die by the road like a donkey. The middle class save all their lives so they don’t have to die by the road like a donkey, and the rich jet into Nassau for rarefied medical treatment unavailable in the United States. Yeah, that’s how it ends.
In the sixth hour on the killing room floor, I went and found my sweating nurse. I asked him how much longer and he said, “at least 2 hours.’ I blew sky high. Rage, tears. Even security was frightened. I found my husband who shouted over the writhing bodies, “WE’LL CHECK INTO A HOTEL AND TAKE JET BLUE OUT OF HERE!” I whirled around toward Nurse Sweaty and ripped him a new one.
I recovered with the help of $60 in gatorade and a case of bottled water. And at every meal, the wait-staff told me their stories:
“My little brother went into the Princess Margaret Hospital one morning and by evening, he was dead.”
“My father checked in with a huge stomach like a pregnant woman. In three days, he died and no one knew why.”
And on and on it goes. Even in our hotel room, we could not escape. A local cable channel station ran death announcements and guess where every death had taken place: Princess Margaret Hospital.
The young people of the Bahamas want to do something; I talked to at least 20 of them while I was rehydrating. They brought me their friends who had stories after telling me their own. Napkins with scrawled phone numbers were slipped to me as I stood in the buffet line. “She has a story. So-and-so lost her baby.” The suffering was unspeakable. The people of the Bahamas – dignified, hardworking, deeply spiritual, kind and funny — deserve so much better than this.
The beauty of the country was thrilling but I think I’ll steer clear of the Bahamas going forward; I’ve seen their killing machine. Africa was kinder to me when in distress and even in the remote bush, there were better medical facilities for human beings.
I don’t know if Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis took the Hippocratic oath; he was educated at the University of Minnesota before going on to medical school in Jamaica. I know he did his residency at Princess Margaret Hospital (OB/Gyn for god’s sake.) I also believe that just as a doctor should be sued for malpractice on an individual, he should be sued (or put in jail?) for MALPRACTICE ON A COUNTRY.
And by the by, Dr. Minnis’s personal wealth is estimated at over $10 million. Not bad for a doctor, eh? And believe me or not, on a one website, he relaxes playing the cowbell. I’ll bet it’s one hot cowbell, swiped from the hands of people who need healthcare.
Follow on twitter @giantsweettart