Minimum Basic Care

While the Communist Party of Vietnam boasts about the breadth and commitment of its frontline medical workforce and effective triage and treatment strategies, among other things, videos are being shared on chat apps, such as Zalo, WeChat and Messenger, of inhumane conditions from inside of Vietnam’s critical care facilities for COVID-19 patients. For example, in the following clip, a Vietnamese man recently exposed some of the harsh realities critically ill COVID-19 patients face. As he walks around the room panning the camera towards each patient, the man complains about the inexistence of medical care, emphasizing that one person had died and another is suffocating.

Rather than being the exception, I have no doubt that this is the norm in many of Vietnam’s public hospitals. For outsiders, it’s easy to think of it as an isolated incident. Had I been green to life in Vietnam, I’d agree. But having witnessed the treatment of patients, including your mother, her family and her good friend, at public hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s not at all surprising. On a good day, patients are treated like cattle. Doctors, specialists and nurses get patients in-and-out as quickly as possible. Other than receiving a piece of paper with a conclusion, there is little to no consultation. The whole process is completely impersonal. Take your mother, for instance, she was left bleeding on a table after an invasive surgery a few years ago. The doctor and nurses walked out of the room right after the procedure had been finished without any consideration for her. WTF.

Hospitals, both public and private, also require payment before services are rendered. Under normal circumstances, you won’t get treated if you don’t have enough money. But, unlike private hospitals, the staff in public hospitals expect bribes in return for adequate service (a.k.a. doing their job). For example, when your mother’s friend went to a well-known public hospital in Ho Chi Minh City to deliver her son not too long ago, she had to pay bribes to the nurses on top of the service and room charges. She didn’t want to be neglected. The sad thing is that your mother and her friend didn’t even bat an eye. Don’t worry though, foreigners are treated differently. Vietnamese typically don’t air their dirty laundry in front of us.

As much inequality as there is against the poor, like those shown in the clip, the Communist Party of Vietnam isn’t intentionally neglecting them beyond what happens normally, which is unacceptable in itself. It has provided minimum basic care. Concerning the medical staff, that’s a different bad story. I believe there are some that do their best but many just don’t care. If you’ve been led to believe that Vietnam has a collectivist culture from wherever — TV, teacher or friends, think again. It’s about survival.

Videos from inside of Vietnam’s COVID-19 facilities are being shared cautiously. Vietnamese are reluctant to post them on Facebook, Instagram or other social media websites because they fear prosecution (or worse) by their own government. But they still share them with trusted connections via chat apps to raise awareness. Exposing the truth can come at great cost.

The Communist Party of Vietnam had over one year to prepare for a worst-case scenario. Its leadership could have procured a sufficient number of vaccinations but choose not to because the price was non-negotiable. Those fuckers thought they had leverage going into negotiations failing to take into account the basic economics of supply and demand. Surprise! COVID-19 isn’t just a Vietnamese thing. Although the Communist Party of Vietnam is saving loads of money from free handouts, its ineptitude will end up costing more. Who does that affect? Common folk. Party members will still live in their big home and drive their fancy cars. The Communist Party of Vietnam fucked the country. And its not accountable to anyone. An already unfair situation for many has been made much worse.

Regardless, I truly hope that you’re not like other naive Vietnamese kids in the future and think that having a life in Vietnam is a good idea. That’d likely mean failure.

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