The Sad Reality Of Public Healthcare In Turkey

Steve B

Connoisseur
#1
I am writing this with the heaviest and aching heart. In the past day I have seen the sad reality of public healthcare in Turkey when it matters most. I have written and commented on threads about the wonderful private system here for healthcare, and it really is amazing having used it, and I am truly thankful for it. But in the past day, I have seen the dark side of a public system that is cronically underfunded, to an extent I did not know. We have a close family friend, a very elderly man who is so dear to our hearts. He is 86 years old, a widower, who's only child died many years ago. Let me explain. He lived and worked in Germany for many years with his wonderful wife. They returned to Turkey also many years ago, and had a child. This baby boy was born with a disease that paralyzed him from the neck down. Our friends raised him with the greatest of love, and he excelled in school and won scholarships to university. He attended Ege University and became a gifted computer science engineer. My younger sister-in-law was also won a scholarship and took computer science engineering at Ege. They became close friends, and my sister and my family here grew to know his family so well. Our friend, the father, would take his son to school and university by bus, carrying him, even when he was adult in university. He would stay at university all day, carrying him from class to class. The son graduated with the highest of honours in all of Turkey, and did his masters, and was working on his doctorate. He went on many symposiums and had so much of his research and work published within Turkey and around the world. He was 27 years old, giving a paper and lectures at a symposium in Moscow in the 1995, and contracted some terrible infection and died within a couple of days of coming down sick, and died in hospital in Moscow. His body was retured to Turkey, and a huge funeral was accorded him by the goverment for his service to Turkey in computer engineering. His father was awarded a medal on behalf of his son's service to furthering the knowledge of computers and his work by the goverment, basically an award for his son as a "Hero of Turkey" and him and his wife were presented with the medal by President Süleyman Demirel in 1997 at a ceremony in Ankara. A couple of weeks after his death, a letter arrived from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) awarding him tenure and research facilities there to continue in his research once he completed his doctorate in Turkey. So sad. Our friend worked as a volunteer in the Turkish Handicap Assocation for many years. 2 years ago his wife died, and this hurt him badly as he was on his own, with no real close times to family as they were scattered all over Turkey and busy with their own lives. We helped him through his wife's funeral, and after, and seeing he was becoming in a bad way, helped him last year get into a new old person's home in eski Foca. It is a nice place, but two to a room and he had a hard time adapting, also he is very quiet, and doesn't make much of a fuss about anything. We have been working this past week in fact in getting him into a very nice, luxury home in Urla, like a 5 star hotel. It belongs to an organization to help kids through school. Basically, they value your home, and offer you lifetime care in this facitly for signing over your home to them, you must be at least 65, of course, to live too long would prevent them from makeing money from your property to put under privliaged kids through school. We can't get him there to see the place we went to last week because last week he went to visit family near Ankara. He was coming down with a fever and they put him on a bus back to Izmir, instead of taking him to the hospital there. He arrived Saturday night at a nefew's home here in Izmir, who took a look at him and put him back into the taxi and took him to Ege University hospital. We were phoned, and arrived yesterday morning at the hosptial. He is in "observation", which basically is a huge room off the emergency ward, with about 40 other patients, mostly older, with not enough nurses, little medical supplies and not even blankiets for the patients. We were shocked when we seen the state of him, with a huge fever, shivering. They do have him on IV and IV anti-biotics to help fight the infection, but it doesn't look good, especially with the lack of personal touch. This ward doesn't allow visitors except to bring food and feed family memebers, and then only 15 minutes and one person allowed. I bs'd our way in, my sister in law and I, as I am english speaking, and got the security guards worried of what would happend if they didn't allow the two of us in. It is a sad place, I was utterly shocked, there is not a blanket to be seen anywhere, no monitors or wall moutned BP cuffs. We had to bring diapers for him and clean clothes as there is no one to take him to the bathroom so he, along with all the other patients lay in their own filth. There is not even sheets under them. The dignity for these people is ignored. I am not blaming the staff, they are trying to cope with it the best they can. But I also noticed the very young age of the nurses, troubling, as there is no expeirence, and what drives older nurses to work elsewhere? This is one of the biggest public hositals in Izmir. He was dilirious when we arrived, but holding his hand, reassuring him, talking to him, kissing him, brought him back to reality to a great extent, but we feared when we left last night, he will take a turn for the worse overnight with no one to help him. The hospital doesn't inform you if the patient is near death, so you will find out after the fact. I feel so helpless and sorry. We were informed by the doctor he need's a MRI, but the MRI at the emergency was broken, and were told we could take him to a privated clinic for it and bring him back. He is in no condition to move from the hosptial. We suspect if you have connections, the other MRI machines in the hospital will be available. We are going back shortly to spend the day waiting outside at the hospital and to feed him. We are also going to talk to the doctor and explain about this wonderful man and his devotion as a father to his son. We only want a little dignity and maybe addmitance to a ward room so he can life his last few days in dignity and respect. I hope it works, as my sister-in-law and my wife haven't stopped crying.

I also write this to warn those of you in the expat community, if you expect SGK to look after you when you get old and infirm, think again. The state is like all countries now, overwhelmed by the elderly getting ill and living longer. An infection and ending up in a state hospital can kill you. I am lucky enough to have a great private health care plan from my goverment as a retired employee for all medical other then hosptial, but a great private Turkish plan for hospitalization, which I have used, and any hospital I want. Although it cost's money, please, please think about your future here, if you come down sick, and the reality of a goverment hosptial in a system that is bursting at the seams, and if you can, get a private plan. I was really shocked, and now must say, the public healthcare system in Canada, as we have no private facilites, with all it's warts, is 100 times better for the elderly person. I had to write this, as I am still so upset at what I saw for those without money in the state system of healthcare here. :cry:
 

ally

Rose of Kusadasi
#2
Steve, reading your post I can see why you are so worried about your friend; it's so sad. I hope that you can persuade the hospital to put him somewhere more comfortable and to allow this lovely man the dignity he deserves.
 

Steve B

Connoisseur
#3
Steve, reading your post I can see why you are so worried about your friend; it's so sad. I hope that you can persuade the hospital to put him somewhere more comfortable and to allow this lovely man the dignity he deserves.
Thanks Ally, I and my family really appreciate the kind words, yes, he truly is a wonderful man. What worries me is the state of healtcare, especially for elderly Turkish people when they need the most help. I know things have improved so much in the last 10 years, but still, in a country where they want to build new stadiums, highways, airports, host expo's and olympics, the public healthcare system must above all, be first. I hope with all my heart this for all Turks.
 

Steve B

Connoisseur
#4
I also was shocked, that even though he has been in the hosptial for over 24 hours, they do not provide food in observation, we have to bring food and even water to feed him.
 

Fleur

Connoisseur
#5
It is the choice of hospital Steve. Had he gone to Dökus Eylul in Balçova, I doubt this situation would occur.
My husband was in Ege University Hastane for nearly a year. We always got him a private room as soon as one was available.
The nurses are young and quite horrible at times and do not clean or look after the patients other than administering medicine.
Some of them are really rude and need taking down a peg or two.
I had to take bedding for my husband and also pay a woman to look after him at night. I even had to push him in a wheelchair to the far side of the hospital to the chest clinic which was on the top of a hill, as there were no porters available.
After his 7th operation I had to bully my way into ICU to see him. He vomited all over his bed and I was forced out only to find the next day, he was still lying in this mess.
Millions have been spent on this teaching hospital. The foyer looks like a 5 star hotel. There is also a lot of greed. The professor who operated 7 times on my husband wanted a top up fee of over 3,000 pounds every time. Of course I haggled with him, but a fee had to be paid regardless.
The father of one boy who was given a kidney transplant, had no money to pay and had to go back to his village and ask friends and family for the money.
The food is appalling and totally inadequate. the hospital is very badly run, but worse is Bozyaka, never have I been in such a terrible hospital. (I could write a book about some of the hospitals in Izmir).
I don't know if these hospitals are underfunded, my guess is not, it is the way the money is spent. Millions of liras pour into Ege University Hastane every day.
People pay privately for operations and are charged a huge amount of money.
The admin staff are very rude and discourteous and you must stand your ground otherwise they just dismiss you with a tut tut!!
Steve, as a foreigner, you will stand a better chance to sort this problem out. The Turks do not wish foreigner's to see just how bad some of the hospitals are.
This old gentleman should be allowed dignity in his old age, sadly even in the UK, elderly patients are left in corridor's on trolley's and not given care and attention.
My guess too many chief's and not enough Indians.
People in Izmir go to this hospital because it is a teaching hospital and they think that the standard is very high. Unfortunately, this hospital is so overcrowded as a result.
I myself, had an operation in this hospital as a private patient a couple of years ago. The fact that I paid, made no difference.
The treatment was exactly the same and the staff slapdash, even the doctor hadn't booked me in and wasn't at his office at the time he asked me to be there.
Good luck and be firm, that is the best advice I can give you. I had many an argument in that hospital, but in the end they caved in and did as I asked.
 
#7
Steve, this is truly a very sad end for such a great man and father. I really hope you are able to organise some degree comfort for him soon after he lived his life so selflessly for his son.
Unfortunately, private health care is difficult for older people because they exclude pre-existing medical conditions and the premiums go through the roof the older you get, so I have been forced into the Government Health Scheme. However, thanks for the advice and I will look at other alternatives given everything you have said.
xxxxxx
 

Fleur

Connoisseur
#8
Steve, this is truly a very sad end for such a great man and father. I really hope you are able to organise some degree comfort for him soon after he lived his life so selflessly for his son.
Unfortunately, private health care is difficult for older people because they exclude pre-existing medical conditions and the premiums go through the roof the older you get, so I have been forced into the Government Health Scheme. However, thanks for the advice and I will look at other alternatives given everything you have said.
xxxxxx
Thankfully Angie, not all hospitals are like Ege University Hastane.
The new government hospital in Aydın, behind the forum is excellent.
I have been in more hospitals here than most Turks!!
 
#9
Thankfully Angie, not all hospitals are like Ege University Hastane.
The new government hospital in Aydın, behind the forum is excellent.
I have been in more hospitals here than most Turks!!
That is re-assuring to know. Thank you xxxxx
 
#10
It is the choice of hospital Steve. Had he gone to Dökus Eylul in Balçova, I doubt this situation would occur.
My husband was in Ege University Hastane for nearly a year. We always got him a private room as soon as one was available.
The nurses are young and quite horrible at times and do not clean or look after the patients other than administering medicine.
Some of them are really rude and need taking down a peg or two.
I had to take bedding for my husband and also pay a woman took look after him at night. I even had to push him in a wheelchair to the far side of the hospital to the chest clinic which was on the top of a hill, as there were no porters available.
After his 7th operation I had to bully my way into ICU to see him. He vomited all over his bed and I was forced out only to find the next day, he was still lying in this mess.
Millions have been spent on this teaching hospital. The foyer looks like a 5 star hotel. There is also a lot of greed. The professor who operated 7 times on my husband wanted a top up fee of over 3,000 pounds every time. Of course I haggled with him, but a fee had to be paid regardless.
The father of one boy who was given a kidney transplant, had no money to pay and had to go back to his village and ask friends and family for the money.
The food is appalling and totally inadequate. the hospital is very badly run, but worse is Bozyaka, never have I been in such a terrible hospital. (I could write a book about some of the hospitals in Izmir).
I don't know if these hospitals are underfunded, my guess is not, it is the way the money is spent. Millions of liras pour into Ege University Hastane every day.
People pay privately for operations and are charged a huge amount of money.
The admin staff are very rude and discourteous and you must stand your ground otherwise they just dismiss you with a tut tut!!
Steve, as a foreigner, you will stand a better chance to sort this problem out. The Turks do not wish foreigner's to see just how bad some of the hospitals are.
This old gentleman should be allowed dignity in his old age, sadly even in the UK, elderly patients are left in corridor's on trolley's and not given care and attention.
My guess too many chief's and not enough Indians.
People in Izmir go to this hospital because it is a teaching hospital and they think that the standard is very high. Unfortunately, this hospital is so overcrowded as a result.
I myself, had an operation in this hospital as a private patient a couple of years ago. The fact that I paid, made no difference.
The treatment was exactly the same and the staff slapdash, even the doctor hadn't booked me in and wasn't at his office at the time he asked me to be there.
Good luck and be firm, that is the best advice I can give you. I had many an argument in that hospital, but in the end they caved in and did as I asked.
Thanks you so much for your advice and kind words Fleur, yes, I am sure this is the real truth, and feel sorry for what you went through with your husband, my and my families heart goes out to you. We will be going in a few minutes, have printed the story of his son from the internet which includes about the love and care given by his father. I will try my best to stand firm on a better situation for him. Thanks you so much for which must have been hard to say, experiences at this hopsital with your husband.
 
#11
It is the choice of hospital Steve. Had he gone to Dökus Eylul in Balçova, I doubt this situation would occur.
My husband was in Ege University Hastane for nearly a year. We always got him a private room as soon as one was available.
The nurses are young and quite horrible at times and do not clean or look after the patients other than administering medicine.
Some of them are really rude and need taking down a peg or two.
I had to take bedding for my husband and also pay a woman took look after him at night. I even had to push him in a wheelchair to the far side of the hospital to the chest clinic which was on the top of a hill, as there were no porters available.
After his 7th operation I had to bully my way into ICU to see him. He vomited all over his bed and I was forced out only to find the next day, he was still lying in this mess.
Millions have been spent on this teaching hospital. The foyer looks like a 5 star hotel. There is also a lot of greed. The professor who operated 7 times on my husband wanted a top up fee of over 3,000 pounds every time. Of course I haggled with him, but a fee had to be paid regardless.
The father of one boy who was given a kidney transplant, had no money to pay and had to go back to his village and ask friends and family for the money.
The food is appalling and totally inadequate. the hospital is very badly run, but worse is Bozyaka, never have I been in such a terrible hospital. (I could write a book about some of the hospitals in Izmir).
I don't know if these hospitals are underfunded, my guess is not, it is the way the money is spent. Millions of liras pour into Ege University Hastane every day.
People pay privately for operations and are charged a huge amount of money.
The admin staff are very rude and discourteous and you must stand your ground otherwise they just dismiss you with a tut tut!!
Steve, as a foreigner, you will stand a better chance to sort this problem out. The Turks do not wish foreigner's to see just how bad some of the hospitals are.
This old gentleman should be allowed dignity in his old age, sadly even in the UK, elderly patients are left in corridor's on trolley's and not given care and attention.
My guess too many chief's and not enough Indians.
People in Izmir go to this hospital because it is a teaching hospital and they think that the standard is very high. Unfortunately, this hospital is so overcrowded as a result.
I myself, had an operation in this hospital as a private patient a couple of years ago. The fact that I paid, made no difference.
The treatment was exactly the same and the staff slapdash, even the doctor hadn't booked me in and wasn't at his office at the time he asked me to be there.
Good luck and be firm, that is the best advice I can give you. I had many an argument in that hospital, but in the end they caved in and did as I asked.
Thanks you so much for your advice and kind words Fleur, yes, I am sure this is the real truth, and feel sorry for what you went through with your husband, my and my families heart goes out to you. We will be going in a few minutes, have printed the story of his son from the internet which includes about the love and care given by his father. I will try my best to stand firm on a better situation for him. Thanks you so much for which must have been hard to say, experiences at this hopsital with your husband.
 
#12
Thanks you so much for your advice and kind words Fleur, yes, I am sure this is the real truth, and feel sorry for what you went through with your husband, my and my families heart goes out to you. We will be going in a few minutes, have printed the story of his son from the internet which includes about the love and care given by his father. I will try my best to stand firm on a better situation for him. Thanks you so much for which must have been hard to say, experiences at this hopsital with your husband.
Fleur, one question if I may ask, how far up the food chain did you have to go? We have only managed to talk to the ward doctor, and she is completely overwhelmed by the amount of patients and had not the time to talk to us, and I believe it, she is so overworked.
 

Fleur

Connoisseur
#13
Fleur, one question if I may ask, how far up the food chain did you have to go? We have only managed to talk to the ward doctor, and she is completely overwhelmed by the amount of patients and had not the time to talk to us, and I believe it, she is so overworked.
Go to the top Steve, otherwise you will be fobbed off. All the admin and senior staff are on the top floor. (May have changed in recent years, but they were when my husband was a patient).
I am posting my personal email address in case you need to ask anything.
I understand how you all feel and how frustrating everything is, but I was alone and had not long come to live in Turkey and I managed to get the care for my husband, purely because I wouldn't let it rest. I suppose in the end they did it because they knew I was on their case and they got fed up, easier for them to give in.
fleurfidan@gmail.com
Edit to say, not in the main hospital building, the one on the left as you come in the front entrance.
 
#14
Go to the top Steve, otherwise you will be fobbed off. All the admin and senior staff are on the top floor. (May have changed in recent years, but they were when my husband was a patient).
I am posting my personal email address in case you need to ask anything.
I understand how you all feel and how frustrating everything is, but I was alone and had not long come to live in Turkey and I managed to get the care for my husband, purely because I wouldn't let it rest. I suppose in the end they did it because they knew I was on their case and they got fed up, easier for them to give in.
fleurfidan@gmail.com
Thank you so much Fleur, I can't imagine how hard it was for you, being recentley settled in Turkey when these terrible events happened. I want you to know, I really, appreciate with my whole heart, the knoweledge and experience you have given me, fingers crossed we get something established. Thank you!
 

Fleur

Connoisseur
#15
Thank you so much Fleur, I can't imagine how hard it was for you, being recentley settled in Turkey when these terrible events happened. I want you to know, I really, appreciate with my whole heart, the knoweledge and experience you have given me, fingers crossed we get something established. Thank you!
You are most welcome.
 
#16
Its a disgrace! I always thought Turkish looked after their own? As an ex carer for the elderly in uk it beggars belief that a so called nurse can leave elderly frail and unwell people it the state you have described. I have seen many an elderly person not cared for properly and i for one find it very distressing. You dont need to be a nurse or doctor to have compassion. One day that might be you or someone you love. I pray for this gentleman and hope he finds some comfort in knowing he has good friends around him that do care. Keep up the good work and please keep us posted. Thinking of you.
 

AlanK

Connoisseur
#17
Such a sad and shocking tale Steve. He's very lucky to have you and your family to give him some comfort and to fight for him in his last days.
I hope that he will be given respect and dignity.
 

joy

Sweet Yorkshire Rose
#18
A very shocking state of affairs Steve not only for your family friend but everyone who has to use this hospital.
I am sure there must be standards of care hat should be met and inspectors who should check that these standards are reached and maintained.
I have no idea who you would complain too in the Turkish system but I agree with Fleur go to the top.
I do hope you can make this lovely old man comfortable and have dignity in his last days.
I think If I seen those conditions in a hospital I would be screaming it from the roof tops until someone took noticed and did something.
Good luck my heart goes out too you its very painful to see someone y love ill without having to see them in dreadful circumstances.
 
#19
Very shocking Steve...hope you manage to get some degree of comfort for this lovely old man. You hear the same thing happening over and over again, people devoting their lives to their family and country, and when it come s to the time when they are needing to be taken care of..they are let down so badly. Time for citizens to stand up and be counted. The ones at the top don't go without, so why if you are poor should you be treated in this way.
 
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