ALARMING: In Serbia some elderly people trying to escape starvation by medicating themselves into hibernation
Dr Dejan Zujovic: Some time ago, when I was practicing family medicine at “Old Convention Centre” at Belgrade, I noticed one very old lady. She was around 80 and frequently she asked me to prescribe her a painkiller named “Trodon” (Tramadol?). I suspected that she was reselling this powerful painkiller to local drug addicts, in order to survive. One day I confronted her by saying “OK grandma I will write you this medication, but you have to tell me what you are using it for?” She started right away telling me her story “My son, in the morning when I wake up I drink two pills, then I go back to bed and I fall asleep immediately. This way I save on electrical power because I don’t need the heating when I pass out, in same time I save on food because this way I skip my breakfast and lunch. In the evening when I wake up I eat just a little bit of bread with milk- then I take two pills again… I was looking at her quietly, didn’t know what to say. Before me was a human being trying to escape the hunger by hibernating.. Woman that was intentionally turning herself into the vegetable.. I have wished to cry out loudly, but I didn’t want to do it at front of her. Then I just wrote another prescription, as she asked me for!!!”
My mother shared a disturbing article with me. A local Serbian doctor reported that an elderly patient repeatedly asked for a powerful painkiller, which he assumed was for resale to addicts. When he confronted the patient, it broke his heart to find that she used two tablets each morning to sedate her for the day, helping her save on food and electricity costs. Later that day, my Twitter feed had the Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar driving a $156,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, strolling around as hospitals in Serbia crumble.
I stand with all those who peacefully express their legitimate grievance against a corrupt system. However, be wary of both foreign interference and hooliganism; a movement that seeks change must disavow methods of the oppressor. Hasta la victoria, siempre!
Filip Filipi Jankovic, 28. Jun Founder + President