Saturday, December 27, 2008
Update from the previous post:
Our Iraqi staff member was diagnosed with having an acute myocardial infarction, aka a "heart attack". The degree of blockage within his coronary arteries and subsequent damage to his heart could not be ascertained by the Army surgical hospital as it was not set up with a catheterization lab nor equipped to do an angiogram. The cardiologist therefor recommended transferring the patient to an appropriate Iraqi facility where he could get further definitive treatment.
Now is where the fun begins. There are three such hospitals in Baghdad that are equipped to do the needed procedures. The preferred one had no available space, and told our recent heart attack victim to try back in a few days. The second, accepted our guy, ran an ECG, blood pressure, drew blood for labs, and then sent him home. The physician stated that "cardiology really wasn't his thing, and that the real expert was enjoying his weekend and would be into the hospital in a few days". He prescribed some blood pressure medicine and sent our guy away.
The third and final choice was also equipped to do the procedure but our staff member didn't feel safe going there. The hospitals here are wildly secular, and roving armed gangs have been known to go through the rooms looking patients that weren't of the appropriate religious flavor.
Where does that leave us? Twenty-four hours after having an MI our 53-year old staff member with chronic high blood pressure and a significant cardiac history is back at the villa resting in his room. No one has any idea as to the damage to his heart nor the degree of blockage to his coronary arteries. If this were the United States he would be admitted to the ICU and on his way for an angiogram. Maybe a hospital bed will become free tomorrow. We wait.