Marta Procházková, a 63-year-old woman, spent three weeks in two Czech hospitals. She went through four different departments and she met with unwillingness and the arrogance of nurses in all of them. Unlike other people, she made notes of what they said, which she later gave to the online daily Týden.cz. The nurses’ directors object: They say they only receive thank you letters.
Marta Procházková from Selenice in the Nymburk region had a conflict with the staff already on the first day of her stay at the department of internal medicine in Městec Králové hospital in central Bohemia. She asked one of the nurses, if she could put a new role of toilet paper in the bathroom. “She [the nurse] explained quite inconsiderately that patients have to bring their own toilet paper,” Procházková said of the nurse’s answer to which she replied with a question whether it is not slightly uncivilized.
Later, she went through similar situations several times, for example when she refused to eat a schnitzel with a spoon or dared to ask for clean sheets.
Whose medicine is it?
In many similar situations there was nothing she could do but laugh. But after a nurse at the cardiology department of the Královské Vinohrady teaching hospital distributed the wrong medication to patients, the smile froze on her lips. “That was the worst experience. If someone took the medicine before the nurse realized her mistake five minutes later and returned, it could have turned out badly,” Procházková said.
However, department directors defend their nurses. “There have never been complaints about our staff. On the contrary, we receive thank you letters praising the professional behaviour of our nurses,” said Karel Jirásek, head doctor at the intensive care unit at the Vinohrady hospital.
Czechs put up with it
Experts are not shocked by Marta Procházková’s story. “Nurses at internal medicine departments are exposed to the biggest stress. They act under pressure and this is reflected in their behaviour,” said Luboš Olejár, president of the Czech Association of Patiens.
David Marx, an expert on the quality of health care, said Czech patients are more tolerant of such behaviour than foreigners because, in general, they expect less from health care. “The staff is aware that the patient will put up with a lot,” Marx said.