This morning I took my baby to Ampath to get blood samples for the Netherland-lab. We also had an option to take him to the Pretoria Academic Hospital tomorrow for the same sample. Obviously we rather decided to go for the Ampath-option. You know – first world, private sector, blah blah blah. Anyway, the sister couldn’t even spell “Francois”, let alone obtain the blood sample. After the second prick (with a much more vicious lance-like utensil) she still couldn’t get nearly enough blood to cover the required space on the ticket. She then called two other sisters and none of them have ever done this before. So we decided to stop the circuis (baby screaming) and take the state-hospital option.
What an ironical situation. There at Pretoria Academic Hospital you will find a Dr Izel Smuts. She is a world-famous pediatric neurologist yet she has her life their on grass-roots level, so to speak. All the private pediatricians we talked to, refered us to her as a last resort – because she’s the best. She doesn’t have a secretary. Her office, the clinic where she sees patients and the ward where she does her rounds are each a few blocks apart. Her desk is smaller than a 2-man table at a coffee shop. When you walk into that clinic it really feels as if you are in middle Africa somewhere. Really. And of course she only gets a state salary.
Amazing how South Africa presents vignettes like this one. People just living out their passion – no, their calling – and not asking for anything more than being able to make a living contribution of outstanding excellence.

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