Saturday, August 01, 2009

Parking Woes In Hospitals

I wonder if people realise some of the problems the handicapped face when the time comes for them to go for their regular check-up in a hospital?

Having a medical problem that urgently needs to be looked into is often only half of the issue.

But to get to a place – especially in a government hospital – for medical assistance that you need can often be quite another kettle of fish.

For those without public transport and have to depend on taxis, the experience can turn out to be a nightmare. This is when some cabbies think it is not worth their trouble to take people with disabilities at all – let alone to the hospital.

However, if any of you-readers out there happen to think that having a car of your own solves the problem, don’t be too sure about that.

There are many obstructions in your way which the hospital authorities have obviously given little thought to when it comes to their patient-care facilities and service for people who need them most.

Disabled car parks: First, there should be enough of them. There should be no compromise: these should be placed immediately next to the entrance of all hospitals and clinics.

Like many directors of hospitals car parks, they must be fully covered to protect patients from the elements such as sun and rain. Non disabled people many not realise that many paralysed persons can’t feel a thing from their waist down.

This situation opens them to attack by developing pressure sores in their bodies that can eventually kill them if infection sets in.

That is why they need to rush to the hospital at once when such a thing occurs. Even for those who don’t have them, a very hot seat from the Sun at the car park can cause blisters instantly that quickly turn into ugly sores.

Handicapped drivers can take about 15 minutes just to get into their cars once they leave the hospital. Umbrellas are no good for them in any type of rain. Wounds can get worse and dangerous when it is soaked.

During my recent follow-up visit to the doctor at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur, I was disappointed to note that the disabled car parking spots have no roofs over them.

This, despite having raised the issue for many years with the hospital. Furthermore, the handicapped car parks are not located nearest to the entrances but some metres away.

People in wheelchairs may not suffer as much as those with walking difficulties who have to use walking sticks and crutches.

A few steps forward are often literally like incredible giant steps for them. Moreover they have to worry about falling owing to uneven pavements and roads and oncoming traffic in the hospital.

Another point to seriously consider is to have well-trained security staff who meet patients at the car parks. Well and good if one of us are able to get a family member or friend to accompany us to the hospital.

But for the many of us who don’t have such luxury. It is often a horrifying task to try and get the attention of the security in the narrow, jam-packed roads.

There have been times when some of my friends and I in wheelchairs had to take a complete round out and in the hospital again to come back to the same place – only to be disappointed.

This problem can be solved if the UMMC instructs their security to be on the lookout for handicapped patients.

And it won’t hurt also if they are given a crash course in courtesy as well. A “Good Morning and how are we today” with a big smile can go a long way to calm one’s frazzled nerves, especially if one is worried about what the outcome might be after the visit with the doctor.

Oh, and please insist that they ask all handicapped drivers if they need further assistance instead of just removing the barrier cones from the parking slots and run off.

This is especially important for people with disabilities who drive to the hospital on their own.

I point this out because on several occasions I had the unpleasant experience of having to wait and call out to other kind patients to give me a hand in getting my wheelchair out.

It should be made clear that anyone with a wheelchair sticker on their vehicles do not drive super fancy cars where all you need to do is push a button and presto: the boot mysteriously opens and out pops the wheelchair and all as it automatically wheels its way to the driver’s side of the car.

Well, not yet, anyway!

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stanley said...

spoke to the DG of general hospital KL and manage to have a fee Disabled car parks for the Disabled next to the main door of the respective clinic. To day the Disabled car part next to the main clinic is removed and ambulance are parked in it place.The nearest Disabled car park is about 700 meter's from the clinic door and we have to push our wheel chair through heavy traffic to go to the clinic. I have spoken to the people there but in vain.

Anthony SB Thanasayan said...

Great job Stan. It is people like you who actively do things to make a difference in the lives of disabled people that truly deserve recognition.