Hospitals in India

Healthcare in India

I had my first ever tour of an Indian hospital on Wednesday. Those who know me well know that it takes something rather monumental to bother me. This not only bothered me, I didn’t go into the second hospital until my professor came outside and told me to come in, but that is getting ahead of my story.

The first hospital, King George Hospital, is run by the government. I knew it was a bad sign when the departments were spelled incorrectly outside the hospital. I realize India uses the British form of English, but trust me, even the Brits aren’t this creative in their spelling.

As soon as we walked into the lobby area I was mortified to see a sign hanging, posted with used syringe needles. Are you freaking kidding me? How can these people be nurses and doctors and still use a needle to hang a sign thanking 2013 for the lessons they learned and claim to be prepared for 2014? Just the fact the sign is hanging there, held by needles, meant they haven’t learned jack shit.

Our first stop was the emergency room area. There wasn’t any action at the time so you would think someone would take time to clean up after the recent rush of patients, but that wasn’t the case. My skin began to creep looking around. The stacking plastic chairs transformed into wheelchairs…wow, that is creative in fulfilling a necessity. Rust is obviously a huge problem in India as the humidity is enough to keep my hair curling and turn all metal into dust. On our way to the dermatology treatment room I noticed the direction to pick up the swine flu. We did not go that direction, thank you Jesus.

In the room that is designated for skin care I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell people don’t develop more skin diseases from just entering. This was supposed to be where you go to get rid of a rash, not pick one up. There should never be a standing bowl of water for a wash area anywhere in India. It’s an invitation for the mosquitoes to gather and multiply and the one sink that was in the room I wouldn’t touch with gloves on much then yet wash my hands. Either the sink couldn’t be completely turned off or no one ever bothered to try because the water that is supposed to be conserved just ran in a thin stream the entire time we were in this horrid room. I’m sure we left with a skin disease.

We passed the laboratory and I chose not to enter. I couldn’t get past the fact that Dr. Frankenstein probably had a nicer set up. We exited King George (he should be rolling over in his grave to have this joint named after him) and everyone but me re-entered in another area. I had zero interest in seeing anymore filth. I told my classmate, Caitlin, I wasn’t going in and she passed the word to our professor. He wasn’t concerned, but while I was out there a local started trying to talk to me. I had no clue what he was saying since I don’t speak Telegu. He pulled out a plastic sleeve similar to what our car insurance card might be used for and it said police on it. I almost laughed since he obviously was NOT a police officer. He must have thought I was a foreigner who just fell off the turnip truck. I just kept saying English, English and then another local stopped and translated that this man wanted to know if I needed help. I said “No, I am waiting for my friend inside.” The second man passed this on but I suppose the wannabe cop wasn’t happy. He went and found a real policeman and said something to him. The officer asked me if I needed help and I repeated myself. He nodded and motioned that I could resume sitting. No sooner had I sat down and Fyfe came outside and told me to come back into the hospital of King Vile, I mean George. I went along, not pleased, and viewed more unbelievable sights.

After entirely too long we finally left the first hospital. The next one was a hospital that practiced Ayurvedic medicine. I stayed on the bus with six of my classmates. We had seen enough. Caitlin, the only one of the six of us who is studying to be a doctor said even she had seen enough and preferred dead people over the tragic condition of King George hospital. Caitlin is studying to be a coroner. I hope after she graduates medical school to follow her around at work one day. That will be incredibly interesting and dead bodies can’t smell worse than India. I did snap a few pictures of the city while we waited for the rest of our class. It’s amazing how many houses can be built in one small area by just stacking them on top of each other and praying to the god of support beams they don’t come crashing down on a family of fifteen in the middle of the night.

We drove past the Bay of Bengal on our way to the maternity hospital. The ships on the water were eerie and the caught fish drying out along the road did not make anyone hungry. Imagine that.

I chose to go into the maternity hospital because I just love babies and was curious to see if there would be some hygienic improvement because infants were being born here. It was minimal. With the great concern about the spread of AIDS in this county, the methods of handling blood and newborns was just shocking, and I’m not easily shocked. There is NO privacy for any patients. We were allowed to look at patient records, walk through treatment rooms and get this, enter a delivery room while the mother was being stitched up. Her baby had JUST been born and she had passed the placenta. Had we not been at the Ayurvedic Hospital, we probably could have witnessed the birth. They cleaned the baby off and wrapped her in a blanket, placing her under a warming lamp. I asked if I could take her picture and the nurse said yes. Amazing.

Next we went to the maternity ward where the recent mothers and babies stay for about two days. I felt crowded when I shared a room with another mother. I can’t imagine giving birth and spending two days in that crowded nightmare. After passing through the ward we went to the NICU or infant intensive care. We were all shocked when they welcomed us in, just had to take off our shoes. The doctor had on ripped jeans and was all about prying the baby’s eyes open to show she had jaundice. I would have taken his word for it. He even offered to let one of the nursing students touch the baby’s back but she politely declined stating she didn’t have on gloves. We saw boxes of gloves, but I don’t recall a single employee using gloves. I guess the gloves are reserved for heavy bleeders. The doctor said babies born at six months or earlier do not live. He said it so matter of fact it took us a while to realize that preemies had zero chance of living in India and even those born at full-term were still at risk.

So many women have the HIV virus in India that there is a constant line of pregnant women waiting to be tested. From what I understand, having the virus while pregnant does not mean your child will be born with the virus so all mothers get tested. If they are positive, they are informed that breastfeeding will pass on the virus, but so many mothers have no way of buying formula they nurse their child and infect them rather than let them starve. I, and I’m sure everyone reading this post, cannot imagine being in a situation where I either let my child die of starvation or infect them with a disease that has no cure. This experience has opened my eyes to the amazing health care we receive in America and how grateful we should be that our government gives a damn. There was nothing about this Indian hospital that made me believe there was any true desire on the government’s behalf to improve the quality of life and health care for Indian citizens.

After returning to the HOINA campus, I seriously considered pouring bleach over my entire body.

I may never recover from seeing this. Click the first thumbnail to view India’s governmental disgrace. (Purely my opinion, of course)

~P.

Comments

  1. OMG no wonder aids is so bad in india. i love the USA.

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