Thursday, March 26, 2009

Comment (from a doctor who served at Government General Hospital)

dear chinmayi ,
I am one of those people who constantly draw inspiration to rise to greater heights, from your blog.

I was a medical student who interned at the GGH , Chennai.
The list of things the place needs is endless, can be attributed to lack of funds , mismanagement , theft etc.
i am not going to talk about that.
I am here to tell yourandom incidents/ sightings that apalled me :

The Assistant professor in my ward , casually asked us to indent expensive drugs under patients ( its for free)and made off with them to use for his private clinic.

A watchman in the septic ward charges RS. 10 to let visitors/ attenders in. Ive seen this exchange several times and chided him.

In this septic ward, the ward assistant (deputy to nurse ) "offers " to do the dressings for patients. Since it takes a long time for us Interns to finish All the patients, And we do the septic ward last , some patients unknowingly agree to take up the "offer " . After the quackish dressing , they are charged rs 50 to rs 100

In septic ward ,to shift a patient from the OT post op , anywhere from rs 100 upwards.

To wheel a patient for investigations ( ex: to take him from ward to x ray room , Around RS 50). When i was new i used to sit and wonder why the hell an urgent investigation was not done. Ans : patient didnt pay the ward boy.

While i found that one doctor corrupt , i must say the others who i worked under were exceptionally good ,genuine and caring.
The nurses are like sloths / slugs, they hardly move, make a lot of noise , weigh above 65 kg,and believe their sole job in life is to sit and draw lines on registers. and are somewhat benign in compared to the lower rung of uneducated employees.

The ward boys are incorrigible , hateful , lecherous bastards.
As someone on the bottom most of the hierarchy of doctors , there was nothing much i could do besides listen to patients grievances , console them , and TRY to check these lechers.
but theyve done it for forty fifty years . one little student , posted in their ward for a couple of weeks could not intimidate them , try as much as she could.

Im not defending myself and saying i did everything in my capacity , but i tried .

And yes , ministers generally admit their aged parents ( reason :cheaper , and they're going to die anyway + public admiration for using GH ). ITs hell when they come , ppl stand in attention or bend double in fear / respect. I tried to resist that and go about my daily proud that i didnt stoop to say good morning to some godawful minister.

And in the maternity hospital, if the mother gives birth to a girl , they 'Gift' Rs. 300 to the Ayah. Boys bring Rs.500. Saddest part : the ayah takes them aside and says " ulla doctor amma/ ayya vangi vara sonnanga". This i came to know only after i finished my posting in maternity !!

Oh and worst of all they charge a couple of thousands to hand over a body from the morgue. or so i hear.

Im sorry/ ashamed to say i couldnt do much more than what i did as an intern.
But it has been cathartic to write about it here . Thank you.

So people, can something be done about these ward boys/nurses/ayahs?


A said...

Dear Chinmayi,

My mother was in a so called 'big hospital' for a major surgery last week. The hospital charges were double of what we would have to pay if it had been a normal hospital. You would think that the treatment at the hands of the ward boys/ ayahs wld be better than the Govt hospitals. But no, it was so so bad. My mother and I were close to tears because of the damn ayahs. And we were so stressed about the post surgery recovery that we din even think taht we shld go about complaining abt them.

Anyway I had always thought that since the Govt hospitals pay the staff meager amounts, they treat the patients in a shabby manner and take money for doing all jobs. But wat about the staff at the big hospitals? arent they paid decently? Arent they trained properly? Why the hell would the hospital charge us such an exhorbitant amount?

Its a very sad situation and it should not prevail in any hospital, be it Govt or private. The health ministers should kindly wake up and look into the situation.


Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

To Arpita:
If you can mail me the name of the hospital, I shall send them a letter/stinker or whatever it takes.
Take my word for it

Anonymous said...

Hi Chinmayi,

Firstly, I would like to appreciate you and the doctor drafted this post for bringing such an issue to the eyes of the public...

I have heard of such things happening in Government hospitals... but not thought of to this extent..

Something needs to be done about these corroupt minded people rather than complaining among ourselves... I think that taking up this issue to even the Dean of the Hospital is going to do nothing much..

This issue has to be taken to the vigilance department channeled through organisations like Fifth Pillar with which we can really give a tough fight..

Why shouldn't we form a team of like minded people against these issues and draft a letter addressing these crimes to the people like Health Ministers of Centre and State, TN Cheif Minister, Home Secretary, and even to The President??

We need to speak up about the issue in media, by which it reaches to a large mass...

Hey Chinmayi... Being a known celebrity and having a voice in media, I'm sure you can take this to the media easily...

Am ready to work with people to do something on this issue..

Anonymous said...

This is one out of the 100 (or say even 1000) ills which you find in the society. Worse is the ppl of India have learnt to live with these.. One who wants to make changes sees only hurdles in front of him.. Hurdles too hard for a common man to overcome.. :(...

Anonymous said...

I assume that you would like a change as an answer to your question. Ain't trying to answer you because some questions are aimed at exploring so may be i am going to give you a lead.

I read somewhere here in the string of Chinmayee's posts...if you need to see a change...please introduce it. Thats just amazing isnt it? I have heard Be a change but be a change and also introduce it, is, in my opinion, a great improvissation. But before introducing it, we need to identify as what you would want to see changed. Of course, that seems logical..isnt it? And in this case, i would like to see respect in the minds and actions of ward boys/nurses towards others. (wouldnt want to use the term aayahs as i personally hate that word). So introduce the identified change to them. In this case, respect. I have personally seen and felt the disrespect awarded to this people responsible in making the support system on various levels and degress. Labour based respect is a crime and we fail to understand that. I live abroad to feel the society which has benefitted by living the other way round in comparision to the life that is lived in India. And if one fails to know how to generate respect for another human being, i suggest to work on the belief and understanding which are the variables in the equation.

Believe me, it is not easy but if you need an answer and if that has to be long term then i guess mine is defininitely close to bull's eye.

Aakarsh said...

Sad state of affairs, but it is not surprising. It is probably the same everywhere.

Now what can be done, legally?

Use blogs and other avenues to raise hue & cry about the wrong doings.

Going to ministers or other high officials will be of no use. everyone is thickskinned and completely indifferent (and corrupt too).
The issues need to be given enough online mileage so that it results in a public outcry.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chinmayi Akka,
This happened a month back.My uncle was diagnosed with Colon(Intestinal)cancer in 2007 and he underwent an operation to increase his lifetime for a year or two as told by the doctors. The operation was done at one of the private hospitals in the heart of the city and he had been undergoing Chemotherapy every 2 months after his operation. Last month his condition worsened and the doctors asked to take him home and inform the kin since he had very less time. He passed 2 days after he was discharged on 22nd Feb and the next day we needed a death certificate to cremate him. This is where we were in for a shock. I went to get his death certificate from the same private hospital where he was undergoing treatment with all the treatment details(bills,medicinal dosage etc...maintained in a book)and the doctor coolly said "i know the patient personally, but i cannot provide the death certificate since i really do not know if he is dead. U bring him here and admit him in the casualty ward and i will provide u the death certificate". At that point our brains didn't work so we came back home and called him again and spoke to the doctor and asked him to send an office nurse to check and agreed to pay for the transportation expense for which again he denied. He told that we had been taking treatment from another hospital. That was done on the description of the same doctor when he discharged my uncle. He had written a note in that record notebook to the hospital to just give support care(everyday a nurse from nearby hospital came and initiated DRIPS through CENTER LINE(a medical term for a hole in the shoulder), twice a day). We paid that nurse Rs.400 per day for doing that). All these things were done on the prescriptions of the doctor and the way he spoke really shocked us. This is the plight of many not only in govt. hospitals but very prolific private hospitals too. I hope the doctors at least act more responsibly.


Anonymous said...

Dear Chinmayi:

I too am a long-time reader of your blog and I admire your passion for social causes. However, I must say that I am surprised reading this post, for what will no doubt seem a fly on the wall.

I do not doubt the corruption in the hospital or the intern's frustration at it. I am very shocked, though, at mention of the nurses' weights ("weigh over 65 kg"), which apparently is as much a fault, according to your writer, as incompetence and laziness. I find the reference to the physical attribute both distasteful and out-of-place, and it only detracts from his credibility.

Does it really bother him as much as the incompetence? If so, he is in the wrong profession. And even if it does, I fail to see how he has any right to complain about it. Lest someone argue that over 65kg implies physical inability to run/sprint in medical situations, I'd like to state that I'm over 65kg, and I can run and sprint longer and much faster than my under-45kg model-like friends.

I am also surprised you published it as is, with no disclaimer or editing. It may be a small point, but every time we let such accusations slip, we take a step backwards away from the same professionalism that we want, reinforce the mentality that judges people by appearance rather than performance, and undermine our own position.

I understand if you choose not to publish this comment, but I send it hoping you will understand and support it next time.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Smita: Not posting a disclaimer was perhaps a mistake from my side.. but I think I mentioned that this was a comment that came in an earlier post and thought I should make it a post as it will get more eyeballs, you'll also find the same in the comment section in another post.. Somehow, until you brought it to my notice, I didn't think it would be offensive.. probably she wanted to say that they are sluggish. But I did not want to edit that comment, because its not mine, because it is already published as a comment previously, wherein I cannot edit it. Probably people like us should focus on the real issues at hand than on something that 'can' be misintepreted. But yes, I would judge a person my appearance in a few cases, I do not think an overweight, paunchy police officer will be able to run, and a doctor who is obese is definitely no role model. The same could also apply to nurses. Their physical appearance and fitness is necessary. If they propogate action/agility or good health then they better have the physique to prove it. On the same note, I have found that a lot of overweight people make the best dancers. They seem to have a great sense of rhythm than the skinnier counterparts. I know they are not connected but My two cents.

Chriz said...

arumai.. mikka arumai..

munnaa bhai effect irundhuchu...
cool one

Anonymous said...

As I have always said...I am willing to go the extra mile to correct things in society. Count me in when you need that extra pair of hands to help you.
Let's get together and chalk out a plan to stop such irritants.

Anonymous said...


So you want a doctor to issue a death certificate without seeing the patient

Wow !!!

And when the doctor refuses to do that, he is bad.


Anonymous said...

Samurai Movie story repeats here…

priya said...

I had the misfortune of doing my intenrship at the psychiatric ward in GH.It's far worse than the other wards and very often the patients are dispensed off with "repeat medication" on their OP slip.As such the pateints who come there are in state of confusion and to add to their woes there is no one to explain to the family what their illness or what side effects the medications can have on them.

I guess for me too writing this has been cathartic....