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> Health, Hospitals, Medicine

If you are in the social health system in Tenerife, chances are that at some point you or a loved one may be shipped off to Candelaria to mend broken bones, jump start a failing heart or give birth to a bouncing new baby. The medical care you receive will be exemplary – possibly even life-saving – especially in the case of the hospital’s stellar Cardiology Unit.But… and you had to know there was one coming … if your grasp of Spanglish is limited, whether you are the patient or you are visiting a patient there are a few things that may make the experience go a little better for you.

Find out what time the doctor/surgeon does his daily round.
My mother and I found this out when trying to visit Bampa. In his ward, the doctor’s rounds are over by 10.30. If you are not there on time your chances of getting to speak to the doctor are thin. It matters not at all, that you are coming from the South, do not drive and earliest you can get there is 11.20. If you are not there on time, don’t expect the doctor to go out of his or her way to speak to you.

It is not up to the hospital to call family and inform them what is going on.
Even if you have left phone numbers willy-nilly including both to direct family members and Spanish speaking friends and you have been assured that you will be told what is going on, you will not be called to let you know when an operation will be performed and what it will entail. Failure to inform the family is the patient’s fault, even if no-one has told him when the operation will take place.

The surgeon will expect you to be there to talk to him/her once the surgery has been completed and the patient is in the recovery room.
If you are not there because you did not know what was going on that is most certainly not the doctor’s problem and the nurses will think you are a half-wit.

Take GPS , a bottle or water and a couple of sandwiches with you.
Candelaria Hospital is enormous. If you overshoot your floor in the lift on the way down and end up in the cavernous corridors below the main level you may get lost for days. The GPS may also come in handy finding your way back to the ward after you’ve been sent on a wild goose chase.

There is no Consulting Room 4!
If you are being a PITA up at the nurses’ station because you really just want someone to tell you what was done to your loved one yesterday, then you may get sent off on a mission. Here, they’ll say, take this scrap of paper and go find Dra Something -or-Other on Planta 3. Off you’ll trot through never-ending passages (thinking sod the GPS, I think I’ll start leaving a trail of breadcrumbs) until you reach a door which has the hallowed word, Secretaria, scrawled upon it. She is tasked with listening intently, squinting at the paper, then sending you off to Consulting Room 4. And here’s the thing. There is a Room 2, a Room 3, Rooms 5 and 7. But there is no Room 4 or 6!

Of course, in the end, what matters is not so much our Pythonesque escapade through the intestines of Candelaria Hospital yesterday in search of Bampa’s doctor, but that Bampa is doing well and will be home soon. And guess what? Today when we go to visit him, I will be killing two birds with one stone because I shall be taking my son for an appointment with a paediatric specialist in Candelaria. This appointment has been a year in the waiting and fingers crossed all will be well. (Let’s just hope that after all this time, Sami’s doctor is not waiting for us in Consulting Room 4.)

The Bampa debacle and the long wait for a cita (any kind of specialist cita) is in large part because Candelaria is overstretched and that’s where most of the specialists are based. It does beg the question why is there still no public hospital in the south?
Unless the developers are actually aiming for The Slowest Hospital Construction entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, the stop-start-stop development of El Mojón is beyond belief.