Hospitable emergency

At some point in our lives we all have to make a visit to the hospital either for ourselves or our near and dear ones. But sometimes negligence on the part of the doctor or hospital staff leaves a lasting bad impression on our psyche and we tend to get paranoid.

A recent experience with my aunt reiterated my long held belief that hospital staff is not always a trustworthy lot. Hospitalized for a bout of nausea and acute body ache due to nerve entrapment; the nurse on duty administered a heavy dose of Insulin right in the morning before breakfast and even though my aunt protested the nurse had her way. The same dose was to be repeated again after breakfast and but somehow was stopped by my aunt. My aunt does not suffer from a severe case of type 2 diabetes and knowledge about her medication and health in general saved her that day. Sounds like a simple negligence but insulin overdose can result in life threatening coma and eventual death in some cases.

The state of hospitals, hospital administration and public service in general is not something that we in India can claim to be the best of our services. More so now, in the age of globalization and instant relief where the quality of public service to a large extent speaks about the level of urbanization of the nation.

But are there any specific factors that help us decide the right hospital? It is an open secret that doctors and nurses get better care than the average ordinary patient. They get the royal red carpet. This is partly due to professional affinity, but the more important reason is the knowledge and research that doctors do when they go for their personal treatment. They ask all the right questions and know how to get their way around hospitals.

There are a few basic things that we can keep in mind when we need to decide on medical intervention:

Do not neglect your symptoms till it is very late

Pay attention to details and ask for explanation of your medical report.

Develop a personal relationship with you family doc and nurses in your regular clinic. Ask them where they would treat themselves or their near and dear ones. This way one can find out about the right places.

India’s medical emergency:

Its common to find a gap between India’s claim of shining and the ground reality in health care systems. Even after 60 yrs of independence, the state of the healthcare system does not seem very bright. There is rampant corruption in the field. Only about 1% of GDP is allocated to health and the latest plan is to increase it further to 2.5%.At the outset we need to consider health a priority and atleast increase the allocation to 6%

In the age of availability of healthcare related websites, we tend to default to criteria like distance from our homes or whether the hospital staff is well behaved in choosing health care facilities. The best hospitals in India have huge queues, lack waiting rooms and are badly managed. They also sometimes do not have the necessary equipment to deal with simple and relatively cheap treatment. . They don’t have the capacity to deal with the population in our country and the poor waiting in queues for hours don’t get any attention at all. Only the well to do or the hospital fraternity get decent treatment

So we need a transparent system in place; a rating mechanism according to specialization. A database for hospitals in the country where people can search through according to the rating, price and specialization. The enhancement of public health expenditure as a part of GDP will bear fruit only when standardization/benchmarking is done for hospitals on a mandatory basis as in the western countries.