Monday 21 February 2011

Medical Ambuscades

The strong smell of phenyl welcomes you, concealing the pungent dank 'hospital' smell. An ambulance pulls up, lights flashing and sirens deafening. Someone in his last minutes or seconds enters, clamped in a stretcher with oxygen masks. You can identify the looks in his face that is of sheer terror. Gulping down the bile in your throat you wait in the OP section, waiting for your number to be called. Few sit restless around you, few talking huskily on cell phones, some prefer to snooze and some are happy watching the TV above the receptionsist's head. A pride of lions are mauling a hapless zebra in Animal Planet and you fear ending up on dissection table with a pride of doctors! Shaking your head to clear myriad thoughts, you hope for the best, waiting for the nurse to call you. Images of friends and relatives whom you have visited in hospitals come flooding back to your head and it becomes nauseous simply sitting. You try to strike a conversation with your better half and turn to her seat, she is missing. You find her praying to Ganpati Bappa occupying prime location in the hall. She is probably afraid of the complications the doctor dears are going to discuss and the further more complicated bill there after!

After an hour of nail-biting ( all your fingers miss it by now!) you are summoned to the Gates of Destiny. You enter the room doggedly followed by your dear wife. There sits the demi- God, garbed in his white coat and chain- oh, thats a stethoscope. A white gowned nurse stands nearby who smiles sweetly at you, mentally sizing up how much you are going to shell. There comes a pressure check, which is by now shooting like your hospital bill. The doctor shakes his head, clears his throat and finally addresses us graciously- " what is the problem?". My wife as usual starts narrating my dizziness and fuzziness in the mornings. Nodding his head and curtly waving his hand, ( i wish i could do that to her when she bores me to death;)) he takes his scribble pad and starts writing his essay, with bullet points. Finished writing, he nods to the nurse and she gets ready to pull my chair. Oh no, not yet! Is that all? No talk, how to eat, what to take, what not to take- he is busy, a man with less words. I walk out of the room silently to the bill counter where the receptionist with her readymade smile asks me for half a thousand and i stand stupefied in shock. "This is for consultation and Hospital Building Fund", she says as a matter of fact. I wonder what i did consult with the gentleman. I part with my note sadly, get a receipt and walk in silence. My wife is happy that there is nothing seriously wrong and thanks Ganapathi Bappa on our way back. Little does she know my month end ration has drained to the doctor's hospital development.

I have known of friends with sinus ending up being operated, people with mild heart 'murmurs' subject to umpteen number of costly tests until they get a real heart attack seeing the bills. We all trust the doctors to be our Saviours and they end up being the savourers of our wallets! Hospitals charge a fortune for routine medical checks. Some corporates do offer complete medical health check for people above 40 and hospitals charge a hefty bill for these tests back to the corporates! What if they refuse to give your bonus, don't worry, your hospital will rip them off! Most hospitals advertise they accept all Heath Insurance Cards. Oh! what a rosy picture! You will be running from pillar to post to claim that money from the insurace company. There are so many ifs and buts in the Agreements that leave you hospitalised longer! There is a personal friend of mine who bought a two wheeler when i met him as an intern. He got promoted from bike to santro and a personal one-room clinic when my son was born. When my daughter was born, he was practising in his own 50 bed hospital and was driving a City. Now he is the most sought after Doctor in the city with his chauffer driven BMW and a large multi-speciality hospital. I remain the same after all these years- his devoted patient, still driving the same two-wheeler! No wonder Doctors are the wealthiest people in our country with a hand of Midas and a heart of a computer;) They can do maths better than super computer when it comes to bills and can remain detached from patients like a robot! No wonder Medicine is the most sought after profession in India, Hospitals are the best business in India and as for service and compassion- who gives a ****?


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  2. Dear Anonymous...thats a very inspiring comment. Thanks a lot for your visit and comment. Shall continue writing more:)))


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