|NMBS caused health issues
||[Apr. 27th, 2015|12:30 pm]
So yesterday I got up early to go to Antwerp Convention (more about that later as I'm not in any shape to edit photos right now or be online for long).
I was going to take the 8.40 train in the next town over (as mine doesn't have a train station) and meet my friend Babs in Berchem station at 9.15 to go to Agnes & Jannes' place, who live close to Antwerp Expo, where the convention took place.
When I got out of the train I noticed it was listed with a 6 minute delay. Knowing that Babs was probably already waiting, I got down the stairs as quickly as possible, and sprinted through the hall, slowing down near the sliding door because there were other people and I didn't want to run into them. A lady before me got through, there were people behind me, so there was NO WAY that this was my fault. Right in front of my face the damn door closes, so of course I go smack into it.
Proper full frontal face into a massive glass door.
Strangely enough it didn't even really hurt, I just felt seriously numb and out of it, but I shook it off and continued, found Babs and we got in the car to Agnes' place. I didn't feel 100% so Agnes gave me some Batman ice cubes in a towel (thanks Agnes) and I held those against my head for a good long while. I wasn't feeling naucious, didn't have a nose bleed and just thought that feeling dazed was because of the stress of the "run face first into a massive door" shock.
So we continued on to the convention, taking plenty of breaks to sit down and just chill. We went back to our friends' flat around 3.30, by which time I felt distinctively worse for wear. So after sitting there for a while and packing the stuff I had left there Babs made sure I would get onto the train that would get me home at 5 pm.
Not feeling well at all, Bert took me to the emergency doctor post, and the doctor there said I should proceed straight to the ER, which we did. I spent some hours waiting in the general waiting room, 'till I properly felt bad and spoke to one of the nurses again, who sent us to wait in one of the medical exam rooms. I have to say that the staff was all very friendly, it just took forever (as these things go).
In the end I was sent on to the radiology department by a doctor that didn't even touch me, and clearly didn't believe I had walked into a door, to have had my nose X-rayed (by that time the doctor already established I had a mild concussion) and from that it turned out I had cracked my nose.
And this was me being extremely LUCKY, I have high bone density, which is what saved me here. Under normal circumstances (with normal bones), I would have come off MUCH WORSE.
BUT I feel that the medical care I received was seriously lacking. And if it weren't for the fact that I felt so bad and Bert was starving from hunger, I probably would have put up a fight, but I just did NOT have the energy anymore feeling so horribly out of it because of the concussion.
So I'm sitting around in my sofa in some serious discomfort (it's not painful but it sure as hell isn't comfortable). I can't take aspirin because I have concussion (which is what I often have to take when my heart acts up, and I'm sure everyone understands that this is a situation where it is acting up to the sheer stress of it all), wondering how much the ER bill is going to end up costing me and what the fuck the NMBS is going to do about the damn door (probably nothing 'till someone gets hurt a lot more).
So yes, I got injured thanks to a malfunctioning door in a government facility, and if I report it, nothing is likely to ever happen because in Belgium, this kind of shit seems to be normal :(
EDIT (May 1st 2015): I did in fact report it, the day I made this post. The day itself I received a fake apologetic tweet saying they were sorry and hoped I was ok. Pointing out I was not got no response (no one is surprised).
I pointed out, on twitter, that I had filed a complained, and got a patronising response that they take all complaints serious. The fact that today, on May 1st, I still haven't received a response says enough about how much of a lie that is.
Also, when I tweeted yesterday pointing out that they in fact, weren't taking injury complaints serious due to them ignoring me, I got a bitchy tweet saying they take care of complaints by date.
So basically, if and when it suits them, which seems to be never.
I am utterly disgusted, if there were a proper alternative to NMBS I'd be using it.
It's not because I didn't get more injured, and I came off with mild concussion and a cracked nose that the NMBS should act like this, Climbing on their high horse and bitching from their Ivory tower really isn't the correct response here. This could all have been a far more serious injury, and it still left me with massive discomfort, feeling utterly miserable and in pain. And with an undoubtedly massive ER bill still on the way. All because of THEIR infrastructure failed, and instead of trying to find a sollution, which would have been the right thing to do, is this.
I will admit that tweeting and blogging may seem hostile to them, but frankly, not speaking up isn't going to remedy the situation. If I felt that this could all be easily solved by filing an online complaint I would have, but their current responses lead me to believe that speaking up at least raises awareness for dangerous situations in train stations (because this is probably not the only one) and crap customer care.
EDIT (May 31): So I emailed the ombuds for public transport, who previously claimed they would take on my case. And who are currently point blank ignoring me. I tweeted at the NMBS, as that is the only way they seem to be wanting to communicate, and got a passive aggressive message saying that it "can take up to 3 months". In which case they should have still informed me they would need more time within the month, which they refused. I pointed out to them that I know my rights, and won't let this slide. I believe I will start writing to politicians and the press next. I have health issues because of this, my nose is still sore, it's not as straight as it was, and my eyesight has gone blurry because of the injury. This should not just be allowed to go away, just because the NMBS thinks customer service is not something they need to offer!
It also turned out that the note that my GP received from the hospital was ridiculously short, and barely qualifies as a report at all. Just great. It's like everyone conspires with the NMBS against the customer to make sure that this government owned company is always in the right, no matter how wrong they are. So that they NEVER have to justify themselves when a customer gets wronged or even hurt because of their failings.
Final catch-up edit so everyone knows what happened.
The NBMS point blank REFUSED to take any responsability. At all.
They felt social security simply had to deal with any medical bills.
The ombuds also point blank IGNORED me.
I spoke to politicians, who all washed their hands of the NMBS.
After further problems, which were caused by delayed trauma, and which would NOT have happened if the ER doctor had actually done his damn job, it turns out my nose was NOT cracked but broken, and is now internally damaged which is causing me breathing issues a LOT.
I have nerve damage in my neck and spine, which can act up really badly. So badly in fact I have had to cancel a trip to Japan because there was no way I could sit in a plane for 12 hours.
My left eye is damaged, causing me some issues with my sight.
I'm sure I don't have to explain to anyone that this has taken a severe negative impact on my mental health also, but don't you think the NMBS cares about any of this.
Oh and I can't have my nose and eye sorted out, because social security feels I am too young for either surgeries, and so I'd have to pay for them out of my own pocket. Which I simply can't afford. Awesome living in Belgium isn't it...
So yeah, it is to be expected that I will call out the NMBS at every single opportunity when they screw up.