During an emergency what does the patient need?
- Immediate medical attention or a doctor who doesn’t turn up?
- A clean environment with useless staff or an unclean environment with honest and experienced doctors?
On a public holiday, doctors decide to go absconding. God forbid if there is an emergency at your home on a holiday.
Here is what happened:
We had a medical emergency and the family doctor didn’t turn up because it was a holiday.
A family member had an accident right below our building. He managed to reach home somehow. Being Republic Day, all private clinics in our area were closed. We frantically called our family doctor. At first he answered the call and said he would be there in 20 minutes. He never answered the call after that.
One and half hours and 20 futile calls later, we realized that the private doctor wouldn’t be turning up since it was a holiday.
We called about half a dozen private doctors – few of them never answered the phone. I guess they were busy celebrating the holiday with their family. The others who answered said that there was no doctor available. They advised us to get the patient to the hospital after which they would call the doctor. (I have no idea what happened to the concept of resident doctors).
Private doctors have fancy clinics, AC environment, long procedures for admission and delays because the doctor is ‘busy’. On a holiday, the doctors are never available. During an emergency the relatives are left confused because of the numerous tests and processes that the patient is put through. The worst is when the doctors are delayed because they are on a holiday or have stepped out for lunch/dinner/smoke.
Where does one go during a medical emergency on a public holiday?
We were losing time. We had no option but to rush the patient to a nearby municipal hospital.
First impressions of a municipal hospital
My first impression of the municipal hospital was a busy emergency ward where a hoard of patients lined up. The security were politely ushering the worried relatives to the right department.
The hospital was unclean. Very unclean – but extremely welcoming through its people.
One look at my relative and the security immediately wheeled in a chair. It was broken, untidy but offered relief. The doctor immediately attended to our needs, the police who were stationed at the desk noted the complaint. Not a single moment was wasted. They promptly administered the first aid.
We were guided to the X-Ray facility and then to the CT scan facility. I must say that I was very impressed by the equipment and the doctors. However, I just couldn’t get over the unclean surroundings. The patient was in experienced hands – that was a great relief to us all.
The comfort lay in the smiling doctors, helpful staff and state-of-the-art equipment.
Here are the Pros & Cons of the visit:
The patient is better. I still recommend a government hospital because of the immediate care and correct diagnosis. We know that a private hospital would have costed a bomb. Also, since doctors would take time to arrive, we were at a risk. We would have to go through several tests to arrive at what the government doctor diagnosed with limited tests and a short span of time. The government hospital attended to the patient within 10 seconds and gave the correct diagnosis within 2 minutes.
A request to PM, Narendra Modi & CM, Devendra Fadnavis:
The government seriously needs to pay attention to medical facilities here in India. While you have experienced staff and doctors to take attend to patients, the cleanliness in the hospitals is dismal. Basic hygiene procedures need to be followed. There should be better systems and procedures in place. There is a constant latent fear of infections due to the unclean surroundings.
Can we have stringent laws for Private doctors? How can they conveniently disappear on holidays? Is it not their duty to cure a patient who needs medical help and assistance?
I have deliberately withheld the name of the doctor and the municipal hospital. Names don’t matter. My complaint is not against an individual, it is against a faulty system. I really hope that our Modi-fied government will change the systems and we see better facilities and cleaner environments in government hospitals. I really hope my blog post drills some sense of responsibility in the minds of private doctors.