Doctor Vlima Uždavinienė, who had long time experience in HIV treating and who was doing her job more than for ten years in Lithuanian AIDS Center, have ended her work in Vlinius. For some people V. Uzdaviniene was a family doctor as well. By her own words, she found a new working place. As a patient association representative I can say that this decision was not made olny for better working conditions, but also because of the anxiety in her working place. Right now patients are really concerned, calling me, because they do not know what to do. “Doctor Vilma was not only our HIV specialist, but also family doctor for some of us”, - said by the telephone Victoria.
I would not start overly blame or justify somebody without knowing the situation personaly. It would be useful to explain how it all started from the beginning, and it begun from the reforms and its connection to the Communicable Disease Centre in Lithuanian AIDS Centre (LAC). After this reform the care of the patients were given to health department, so the HIV- infected patients care has been launched to provide in primary health institutions, in other words, clinics. Vilnius selected Center Polyclinic (Vytenio branch, Vytenio st. 59/37). Infection specialist, Vilma Uzdaviniene, remained to treat patients.
After some time, in the same Center, at the same room, ad almost at the same time, Vilnius infectious hospital Doctor R. Matulionyte began to take care of patients infected with HIV. For me, as a patient representative, Matulionyte’s working schedule immediately caused a suspicion, because it completely duplicated with existing HIV specialist Vilma Uzdaviniene’s working time. V. Uzdaviniene worked only twice a week, so in order to improve the availability of the services would have been logical to add two additional days with r. Matulionyte. Although we were trying to change that, it was impossible to connect with the heads of medical institution.
It should be made clear that I have faced with R. Matulionyte by labor affairs, as a patient representative and as a patient that she has been treating. I am not one of those patients, who can be humiliated or insulted. That is how R. Matulionyte behaved with her patients. By giving her patient’s time for appointment, Matulionyte could lecture students at the same time. When patients were dissatisfied, she was saying that “at all that kind of people should be happy, that someone treats them”, and for that matter, with several higher institution diplomas and who have worked on probation in France, is a low level to work with that kind of people. I sign after each given word, because only after these similar statements and actions I was forced to refuse her services and go for a treatment to the Lithuanian AIDS Center, to the doctor Vilma Uzdaviniene.
I have brought several patients for R. Matulionyte, who have needed healing, but their lifestyle and social situation in this society didn’t meet her “high and trained” level. After the conversations with her, patients felt humiliated and frustrated; they didn’t want to get a treatment or to change their lifestyle, because they thought they are society’s trash. It took a while, to calm and persuade them to continue treatment.
There is a serious reason to believe that this is being done intentionally, so that patients would be psychologically broken and would dissapear from the treatment. Isn‘t that a reason why in 2013 there were 50 patients who left the treatment, even when antiretrovil theraphy should not be stopped even for a single day?
I agree that it is difficult to work with that kind of patients and it is painful when working as a doctor you are feeling unevalued as a proffesional, but nobody is asking to mess with them or run after patient. We are asking to not humiliate, but show respect for a human being. In my piont of view, if it is hard to deal with different social layer, than the doctor should not be treating patients; They should give their work for other doctors, who will do their job humanily, without showing disrespectfulness for patients .
At this moment patients are considering important questions: who and how are planning to ensure further patients treatment? Where infected people should find a trustworthy family Doctor, for whom they could reveal their problems? Is it only ambitions and wishes to control all the HIV health care in Vilnius? Or maybe it is only financial interest, by taking VLK benefits for each client? And what about quality, what about expenses? Is it possible for R. Matulionyte to align her frequent trips to conferences, her daily teaching practice with continuous stream of patients?
Right now we are making rhetorical questions, but maybe people from VLK or SAM can answer them?
Updated. In 2014 September 3rd Association “Positive Life” putted a short notification from “twitter” to “facebook”, about the current situation. Soon there appeared pharmaceutical company ABBVIE representative’s message, in which he defends R. Matulionyte. How should we understand the behavior of this ABBVIE representative and why phr. Company’s representative was one of the first person who was familiar with doctors output and working situation? What is the role of this representative in pharmaceutical company?