But if the experience of the St Gerald Hospital in Kaduna is anything to go by, many hospitals may soon join in rejecting critically ill patients except they deposit money to cover the cost of their initial treatments.
The St Gerald Hospital is a faith-based Christian Hospital built in 1958 by catholic missionaries to take care of patients, especially those who are unable to bear the cost of treatment in regular hospitals. Although the hospital charges a token to treat patients, what it charges over the years is not comparable to what other hospitals of equal standing charge. And because of its human policy towards patients, the hospital, over the years became the first point of call for many sick persons in the state, especially those involved in accidents and others who may be rejected by regular hospitals because of their lean financial status. Even successive governments of Kaduna state found the St Gerald Hospital a ready partner for the state government to refer patients, especially victims of successive riots in the state.
But the hospital’s open door policy is proving to be its Achilles Heels as some of the patients who come to the hospital in urgent need for treatment end up absconding without paying a dime for their treatment. Consequently, the hospital has accumulated a huge bill of over N15 million naira from such dubious patients, threatening its very existence.
Raising the alarm recently in Kaduna, the Hospital Administrator, Reverend Sister Beatrice Danladi said though the issue of absconding by patients has been going on since the establishment of the hospital, it has recently assumed a more worrying dimension as more people, not only so called indigent people, abscond after treatment.
According to her, apart from the financial loss incurred from the runaway patients, the state government is also owing the hospital about N12 million from treatments of patients that the state government directed to the hospital
She said the N12.1million owed the hospital by Kaduna State government was from the treatment of victims of 2011 post election violence as well as victims of derailed train in Kakau area of Kaduna, as well as medical bills of those who were attacked at a police station in Kujama and children electrocuted in Kakuri.
Sister Danladi said, “As a matter of fact, the hospital is being faced with huge utility bills, outstanding medical bills owed by some patients who after treatment, they end up absconding to the detriment of the hospital and inadequate support from donor agencies.
“We also want to sincerely express our gratitude to the executive governor of Kaduna State. Mallam Nasir El-rufai for the payment of N8 million as part of N15,649, 861 owed by the State government for the treatment of 2011 post election crisis, derailed train accident in Kakau, police station attack in Kujama and electrocuted children in Kakuri. We really appreciate it and at the same time looking forward for the complete payment. “Also, following the visit of His Excellency to the fire and accident victims, he gave a directive that we should treat and send their medical bills to him which amounted to N4,530.918 million in 2016/2017.
“The bill has been sent and no positive response till date. In total, Kaduna State government owes the hospital N12, 180,779 million.
“However, we are appealing to the State government to include us in its subvention plan because we are not getting anything from the government, and we have never rejected victims for treatment whenever the need arises from government.
Notwithstanding, the challenges ahead are very massive in nature and our quest of becoming the foremost health care provider of choice in Nigeria is creeping.
“We would have loved to offer inexpensive services but due to the economic situation in the country, we have no means of generating adequate funds for easy implementation of our goals and sustenance of skilled staff” she said.
Though the hospital administrators are willing to carry on its humanitarian treatment of indigent patients, the experience it has had in the hands of some unscrupulous ones may force it to review its liberal policy where it admits people in critical conditions without asking for financial commitment. Sadly, genuine people who need the services of this hospital may lose the services of this humanitarian hospital if conditions compel them to change.
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He died at 11:30 in the morning the next day.
Breathe: The hormone noradrenaline is released during stressful situations. It makes people sweat, breathe heavily and increases our heart rate, according to experts at Harvard Medical School.
Stand up: Standing up straight allows lungs to fill up with air, improving the body's oxygen supply and significantly reducing the production of the stress hormone cortisol, Dr Sheela Raja, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at The University of Illinois at Chicago, told Naperville Magazine.
Avoid coffee: This caffeinated drink can cause insomnia, nervousness and a faster heart rate – which can worsen the feelings of stress, Dr Mark Hyman wrote.
Get active: Exercise releases 'feel good' hormones called endorphins which can help counterbalance anxiety during stressful situations, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
People completed questionnaires about their level of job strain at age 45 then, at age 50, a questionnaire commonly used to indicate signs of common mental illness.
Researchers also accounted for other stress-inducing factors including divorce, financial problems, housing instability, and bereavement or illness.
Results were then adjusted to rule out the effects of factors such as people's personalities, their IQ, level of education, previous mental health problems.
Double the risk if your job is 'high strain'
When compared with a control group, those with high job demands are 70
People whose job is classed as 'high strain' have more than double the risk – a 122 percent increase – of developing mental illness in their middle age.
The final results show people with higher job demands, lower job control and higher job strain are more likely to develop mental illness by age 50, regardless of their gender or type of job.
Mental illness the leading cause of time off work
Professor Harvey added: 'Mental illness is the leading cause of sickness absence and long-term work incapacity in Australia, equating to billion lost to Australian businesses each year.
'Our modelling used detailed data collected over 50 years to examine the various ways in which particular work conditions may impact an employee's mental health.
'These findings serve as a wake-up call for the role workplace initiatives should play in our efforts to curb the rising costs of mental disorders.'
Past research shows stress linked to physical illness
Previous research has also shown that high levels of stress at work can increase the risk of heart attacks, and make people more likely to eat unhealthily and sleep and exercise less.
Stress can make people physically ill because it can stimulate white blood cells to react in the same way that illness does and cause the body to react as though it is fighting an infection when it is not.
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