Sunday, April 23, 2006

View from a Hospital Bedside...

When Rajkumar died and Bangalore's anti-socials ran riot i never thought the madness would hit so close to home. My dad got stuck in a Bangalore University guesthouse without food, water and electricity and coz he is diabetic had to eat and was forced into having some real crap food procured from god knows where. Anways he landed home with stomach ache, which "upgraded" to pneumonia! I first took him to the medical college coz he knew the gastro professors there and the great work done by the doctors and the nurses at medical college despite the huge crowds of ppl, the absence of infrastructure and overall shabbiness around them really touched me...the medical college is one place where I regret I was never gifted with enough perseverance to become a doctor!!! But then, when I see young doctors, I somehow manage to get depressed...these young people had to slog their way to get thru the kerala entrance while we engineers breezed in...and finally of the 600 odd MBBS grads(nowadays i think its 1000) coming out of Kerala just 10-20 make it to the PG's every year...such a waste of brilliance which anywhere else in the world would have been encouraged to pursue their studies to their hearts content but then these are some of the contradictions we sort of reconcile with in India.

Anyways like most people nowadays who just dont feel safe at a govt hospital, he asked to be moved to a private super-speciality(i wonder what that means...does super-speciality stand for the huge bills) and there despite the great infrastructure and lesser number of patients, the lack of efficiency and a galling lack of urgency really pissed me off. I can cite so many examples...my dad is pretty touchy on food and within a day he got fed up of kanji and kept demanding and getting spicy, oily food from the hospital itself until the doc-in-charge found out...i wonder where the dietician was!!! The professor at medical college was telling me how by just charging Rs.250 for an ultrasound the gastro=department was abe to finance its operations completely without depending on govt aid besides giving free medical care to deserving 20% of patients while private hospitals charge anywhere between 1000-1500 for the ultrasound. But then I guess people who can afford to pay the money shouldnt complain, i guess...but it strengthens the role and importance of goverment hospitals in health-care more than ever. The prof at medical college on coming to know I was a US-returnee and preparing for the civil services talked to me for over an hour opening my eyes to several changes he was crusading for within the govt and how he had been able to lay down the beginnings of computerization, his experiences at the Global Investor Meet and more...I think I'll leave all that for another post.

Even in the US, private medicare and health insurance is a big scam, so there's no point grumbling about it. There was this tragi-comic incident of my usc mallu-junior who fainted when he had fever and his roomies getting scared rushing him to hospital and after 3 days there, which among other tests included almost a 10 inch long injection for testing for meningitis(in his words..."aliya, aa sooji kandappazhe pedichu njan...kuniche nirthi ente spinal fluid ootti eduthade...i cried for help....i shouted out to the nurse that i was admitted with just a fever and she mas making a mistake...i went dizzy after that for 5-6 hours"...on getting back home he was thrusted with a bill for $26000 of which 90% was covered by insurance and he had to put in $2600...angry at his roomies who took him to hospital he said..."dey, ineem njan chaakaan kedannalum $1000 koduthe enikke indiayilekke oru two-way flight ticket eduthe thannaal mathi"!!!! We used to laugh so much about that but secretly dreaded paying a visit to a hospital ever since. Anways, the incidents of the last week forced me to leave the comforts of the home and into the heat and humidity, with my mom away I had to take things into my hands and I was doing a good job balacing my study and the hospital until the viral flu mowed me down a few days back. I have said earlier how much my friends keep motivating me...anways all this reminded me of an email one of my friends, motta sent in, some time back to pep 5-6 of our schoolmates who were almost done with their house surgency at tvm medical college and were beginning to prepare for the PG Medical Entrance and were unsure if the effort was going to be worth it. Moving over to the email which I have just copied and pasted...didnt feel like taking even a word out...

"hi guys,
its been a real long time since i have sent in a mail to the group and this time i am doing it to thank a few guys of our batch whom i now consider the most important to all of us...THE DOCTORS IN OUR FAMILY!! A few months back one of my friends met with an accident.this is one among my other set of friends in town.we took him to medical college casualty.you know how crowded the place is,we knew no one there.then i thought about chucks,i gave him a ring,he was on his way back home after 20 or 30 hours of work,a very tired guy.but....he came back,helped us,took care of a lot of things that would not have been possible had he not come,all these for a guy whom he not knew not till then,but just because he was my friend.

then on the 13th of this month,all of us class mates had met,including chakks, raman, paili, chairman and the others.i had to go home early so i bid goodnight and was on my way back home when another of my friends called me up and told me his father was being taken to medical college,he was crying over the phone,there was no one with him,i rushed to the hospital,his father was in a very weak condition,his eye sight had reduced ,he couldnt stand up nor speak,his mother was also ther,i was wondering what i could do.then i thought of the doctors in our family .i rang up chucks and spoke to pili.he told me he knew one of the guys sitting in the casualty,he told me he will ring him up and let me know .5 mins later he rang me up and asked to meet a guy called sunish,paili had already spoken to him.i went met sunish,a gem of a guy,he helped us out(he had been in hospital for almost 24 hrs continuously working,u can imagine what sort ofg a position he was in then)thnax to his efforts we were able to shift his father to a ward that night itself.i know you guys know how hard it is to get it done so soon. i left hospital by 11.30 that night.i knew paili had night duty on that day.at about 12 i got a call from paili,he told me he had met my friend's father and gave me a small briefing on what must be the reason for his disease.i was so stunned. eda paili had gone and seen him just because i had told him he was my friends father,i was so happy,i conveyed the message to my friend who was so releived. two days later paili called me up and gave me another feedback on his fathers situation.today i had gone to see uncle and i came across sunish(the doctot i mentioned earlier)he came with me,went through uncles scan reports and all and told us not to worry and that everything was fine.he also promised to come and monitor uncle's progress whenever he had time.

GUYS,i just realised how important these doctors were to all of us.just because i told them these guys or people were someone i knew they put in all their effort to do what was best.i know they are doing the same to all the people coming there and that too in circumstances most unfavourable.i conside their conditions unfavourable cos no ac rooms,no rest,no holidays, hours and hours of work, their working conditions, all unfavourable compared to our working enviorns...i just dont know how to thank you guys,CHAKKA, PAILI, RAMAN, PASHU, ASHISH, wherever you guys are i know you guys are doing the best job among the whole lot of us and your work is the most admired not just by our batch but the whole lot of people around you. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST AND REST OF US ARE REAL PROUD TO HAVE U GUYS AS DOCTORS IN OUR FAMILY.THANX GUYS...THANX A LOT"

18 comments:

Mind Curry said...

hi jiby..nice post..yes, the best thing about doctors are that they are always affecting other peoples lives in good ways. but like you said it takes a lot of dedication and committment. and there are two sides to every coin i guess. anyway nice post..and i am glad you have a bunch of great friends.

Jiby said...

hi mind curry, to be honest, with you being a doctor, i thought u wouldnt like this post...since i was taking swipes at private hospitals... but like u said there are two sides and what makes good doctors stand out wherever they work, is dedication and commitment...so this post is a cheer for you too!!!

and wht u said abt great friends... emails like these that still keep coming out even years after we parted is what makes loyola something more special than the shared memories of schoolife!!!

Arjun Ramakrishnan said...

Hi,
This was a great post! For once, u made me regret I chose engg over medicine... but just as you said, i can cite the lack of perseverence and the relatively long gestation period to get specialized and all that as deterrents in my case. but I never have any doubt that medical is such a noble profession and for all the tough working conditions and hectic schedule, the satisfaction that a doctor gets is soemthing special and unique. the society owes a lot to them.

hope you are back to the best of health and gearing up for the CSE prelims... all the best!

Immigrant in Canada said...

Jiby: you need the alternative private practise to sustain the healthcare needs of the population.

I am extremely weary of my kids falling ill in Canada. If i take then to the emergency..the minimum waiting period is 4 hrs to see the nurse..then the dr.. I am covered under the govt healthcare plans and have to pay 108$/month.
In Malaysia, I go to the private clinic and can get the consultation and the medicines in 30 mints..And I have private insurance that cost around 100$/year.
In India, as someone who worked in the govt hospital, I would never take my kids there. The doctors are good, but the support staff lack dedication. Once a hospitaal attendent refused to tell the relatives, what the sex of the new born baby, unless they gave him "bribe".

Reji said...

Gone through your blog. it's interesting to read your views on different things. Over all I value you because, you are the grand, grand , grans son of 'kattakayam Cherian Mappila'.All the very best.

Jiby said...

arjun, yup its our loss we cudnt become doctors, though its very depressing really to see their struggles while engineers atleast make the money.

sarah, i was never calling for private enterprise in the medical field to close down...infact getting personalised attention is their actual super-speciality...oops i guess i forgot to add that in hurry to be critical and gave up the virtue of objectivity...my mistake! i was moaning the fact that its a minority who really can afford this and even then there was such great scope for improvement in private hospitals. the doctors at govt. medical collges and other govt.hospitals have been asking for more autonomy in running the hospitals free from govt interference in administration, appointments and transfers which if granted i think will certainly improve their efficiency.

reji, thanks a lot...its a big responsibility...i hope when my time is done i'll make the mahakavi proud in some way. i loved your blog...really unique...keep it going...am sure it will become popular...i have been telling some of my friends to blog as a team too, but nobody seems to have the time/inclination. good luck to u too!!!

Anonymous said...

Very nice post man. Mottas mail gave me goosebumps... Wished I was a doctor for a minute!..Motta is the guy in Yamaha RX100

Shan

Jiby said...

shan, exactly my thoughts...even i wished i had the ability to follow these guys into medicine. yup motta is the rx100 guy...he is like u fellas, a young private up-start(reverse it!!!)...i am getting a complex coz of y'all!!!

Anand K said...

Boss, beautiful post... Dad always says Docs are the closest things to God, in this mortal plane. My folks wanted atleast one of us bros to be a Doc, but me and my bro didn't want to have anything to do with it. Heh Heh, we knew we weren't committed enough for the long haul, let alone serve humanity. Now they atleast want us to get married to Docs.... parkalaam. ;)

(BTW, wished I could just have come over and visited your dad when he was in Hospital, now that even your Mom's abroad.... Could have atleast dropped in to give you the notes! But you know how hectic and tense the exams + elections + bro's admissions scenario was. Was too held up or woud up or dead tired or smply p1ssed to even get out of my door. So, consider this a sincere apology :) )

Immigrant in Canada said...

jiby: curious. who is'kattakayam Cherian Mappila'?

Thanu said...

I admire dr's a lot. I can never see myself being a dr due to lack of patience. all my dr exp is frm ER, scrubs and Grey's Anatomy.

Jiby said...

puppykutta, no worries man...didnt want u coming eitherways...stay indoors man...we'll catch up once the exams are over and then go on a trek or something else fun!!!

haha sarah, he is my ancestor of 5 generations back...wuz the first christian poet of kerala i think...those days he had to face a lot of insults from nambuthiri and royal poets of those times, for writing in sanskrit also, which wuz their domain!!! maybe i shud write about him soon.

thanu, you certainly wouldnt have needed much effort in endearing yourself to the patients!!!

Geo said...

Agree with you..
Been thru both sides of the story..ie, the one being taken to Tvm MCH after an accident and the one taking his friends to Tvm MCH after accidents…

So I know what exactly you mean…
I too have some Dr friends… have to appreciate the great work they are doing…

Jiby said...

seems like its mandatory for every tvm engg student to see the inside of the famed medical college casualty room during those 4 years...hehe!!!

Jofu said...

Hey jabs!!
good post...
Was touching to read motta's mail again....
Three Cheers to all the Docs !!!

silverine said...

Doctors are the greatest. My experience with them have been always good. Which is why I feel so bad at the raw deal most of them get after years of slogging in med school and that too after paying thru their noses for the seat. And the govt rule limiting PG seats is ridiculous and without compare. Why would you inhibit higher studies??? I guess that is becuase this is another avenue to for the ministers to make money. I have been to a Govt. hospital during a vacation when there were no pvt. docs nearby. The docs there are very experienced because of the variety of cases they handle day in and day out unlike some pvt. docs who have limited exp. due to the type of clientele they get. Lovely post.

Jiby said...

it is when u talked of the variety of clientele our docs have that i am reminded of a pal in the us who caught his physician in the act...looking up his problem on google coz he had never had a patient with that problem!!!

silverine said...

looking up his problem on google
Priceless!!! LOL

Reminds me of a cartoon I got in which a surgeon in the middle of surgery tells the nurse log onto to surgery.com and click on the link that says "confused ?"
:)))