Today we visited the hospital again. A few things that stood out:
-The smallness of hospital rooms
There is not much space in some wings of the hospital. I thought about how hard it would be to have so little space.
-Lack of resources and equipment
They have only the necessary equipment. No extra helpful things. No balls or wedges in physical therapy room. No warming blankets in the recovery room. They had only the necessities, none of the "luxuries" that we have in our hospitals.
-The respect the hospital has toward people with disabilities.
For the first time, I saw a doctor who has a visible disability. Dr. Federico Montero, who is a quadriplegic, holds a high-ranking position in the hospital. His opinion is obviously respected and valued. I've personally never seen a doctor in the U.S. who publicly shows his or her disability. Dr. Montero has done a lot. He has spent three years in Switzerland, working on a project for the World Health Organization and is also a disability rights activist. Yesterday, he gave a long talk about how society's attitude is the problem, and how medical professionals generally don't respect their patients with disabilities.
There are also able-bodied professionals in the hospital who work to promote disability rights.
It is so good to see people with disabilities being respected here in Costa Rica. This respect has been a common theme in Costa Rica. An obvious example is the contrast between the taxi challenge here versus in Houston last week. In Houston we experienced repeated rudeness, not wanting to take my chair in an accessible cab if it required any adjustment to their usual way of doing things, an astonishing apathetic attitude about just not showing up for a scheduled appointment, little concern for my safety, and on and on. In San Jose the other day, our cab driver Minor waited and problem-solved helpfully with us for two hours without a single complaint.
Costa Rica may not have the accommodations of the U.S., but their attitude is more advanced.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007