Opinion: Libyans Receiving Medical Care Abroad Need Legal and Professional Support.
Health service in Libya and its quality have been the topic for discussions among all sectors in Libya for sometime now. Healthcare professionals as well as laypersons have this topic on the plates of every gathering. Officials treat themselves and their relatives abroad.
The average citizen visits Tunisia for all types of health-related problems. Libyan patients travel as far as China, the Ukraine, and South Africa to seek medical care.
We do believe that health officials in Libya are working to put a stop to deterioration of our health services, and these officials hope to steer it into a positive direction.
But this will take time before we see a decrease in the number of Libyan patients and/or their relatives traveling abroad to Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan, and Europe to get medical treatment.
Therefore, until we reach the point where we do not need to go to many of these countries for treatment health officials should focus on helping Libyan patients get high health service standards.
Tunisia, of course, is where much of the money is spent. We contribute a fair amount of financial support to the Tunisian economy.
I am aware of the fact that in the majority of cases Libyan patients return with no written detailed reports of the medical care they have received. One seldom finds an operative report of procedures performed on such patients.
It is totally a legitimate right of the each patient to return from a Tunisian or any other countryAAEs hospital with a copy of his or her medical file to share with his or her local physicians.
Our patients go to Tunisia and other countries for gallstones and for gall bladder cancer. Different diseases need different medications and require different follow up visits and interventions. To send a patient back to Libya without proper medical documentation is unethical and deserves discussion among Libyan doctors inside Libya as well as among health care officials.
A few days ago I came across an email detailing the story of a young Libyan female who was treated with chemotherapy for a cancer that did not exist. The girl suffered major complications, which resulted in her death. According to the girlAAEs family, they did not get a fair review of this case in the judicial system.
Their resources are limited. They can do only so much before becoming overwhelmed with both the expenses and the complicated legal system.
It is likely just a matter of time before such story happens again. I feel certain several similar stories have occurred but simply did not make it to the press or into other professionalAAEs emails.
What is urgently needed, I think, is that we need to have a strong medical attache office in the Libyan embassy in Tunisia and in other countries where Libyan received medical care with clear and broad responsibilities and powers as to provide legal support and consultation to Libyan patients in cases of wrongdoing, medical negligence, wrongful death, and medical legal issues.
If such an office exists, certainly none of us are aware of it. We need to inform our citizens of their rights and the available support for them in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Ukraine or anywhere else. Such information would be handy for the immigration officers to use in the airports or at the borders with Tunisia and Egypt for instance.
I welcome the debate and discussion of this important issue. I think a transparent discussion is needed to preserve our citizensAAE rights and to save their lives when they seek medical care in our neighboring countries.
However, I also hope that the time of stopping seeking medical care outside LibyaAAEs borders will soon come as develop and modernize our health service on which many people are working hard to do just that.
2009 - The Tripoli Post
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|Publication:||The Tripoli Post (Tripoli, Libya)|
|Date:||Oct 23, 2010|
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