Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Medicine Atop A Byzantine Church

  A bin full of plaster faces for sale at a roadside tourist stand.

I toured a Turkish hospital the other day, and as I walked around I spent some time with my feelings.  The government-run hospital was crowded and a bit run-down, supplies were short but the staff was doing the best that it could with what little it had.  Nasal cannulas and oxygen masks were in short supply, so they lay draped over old, blue O2 tanks waiting for the next customer.  The lunch cart made its rounds with pots of colored liquid being ladled out onto trays.  Patients lay on ancient looking aluminum beds in the hallways and rooms; it looked like what I envisioned an eastern bloc hospital to look like during the Soviet era.

My initial emotion was something just shy of contempt.  I wondered why a modern nation had such an antiquated emergency department.  Over time I softened and realized that they were practicing the best medicine that they could given the resources that they had to work with. The Turks are desperately trying to upgrade their emergency medical capabilities, after-all that was the purpose of the conference that I was lucky enough to attend. 

I found out later that the construction of the new hospital was on hold because the intended site sits atop the ruins of a Byzantine church.  I suppose that's not an issue that we have to deal with here in the United States.  I wish them luck.

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