During my second year, I almost lost my thumb due to an unfortunate oatmeal incident (yes, really). Because I have medical aid, my friends rushed me to the nearest private hospital, a fifteen minute drive. Upon arrival, the hospital would not accept my completely legit medical aid number: they insisted on having the card. Which I had forgotten. They refused to tend to my wound unless I paid upfront.
Eventually my wound was taken care of. I was lucky not to have any apparent nerve damage, because I definitely could not pay for microsurgery up front, and medical aid clearance would take a while. Only later, when I had my sutures and pain killers, did I wonder why I had not simply walked across to the training hospital: a ten minute walk, a two minute drive. Why didn’t I? Because it is a public hospital, that’s why.
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