April 19, 2019


Being the spouse of a government official, I have hopped all over the country as we are transferred after every three years. But every posting has shown the pathetic conditions of our health centres, dispensaries and hospitals. The poor medical aid given to the citizens is eminent. The Swachh Bharat Drive is missing, the hospital O.P.Ds are packed like sardines. Senior citizens stand in queues for hours to procure medicines and consultation, they may faint, feel uneasy but there is no respite. Pregnant women sit for hours for their turn inspite of the discomfort but are not given any priority. Corridors are full of stray dogs, who can attack patients. Dirt, filth,stench, hospital waste meets your eyes, unlike the neat and clean hospitals shown in movies. Till now I had visited hospitals for minor ailments but the true colors of our hospitals was revealed when i was transferred to M.P.

I suffered an excruciating pain in my back and was rushed to the hospital. Generally the view is, that government hospitals are not upto the mark, so I was sent to a private hospital.

Now begins my story, the hospital a decrepit building was an eyesore for a person who is a stickler for cleanliness and hygiene. I was immediately admitted in the emergency ward with two more critical patients. No curtain or cubicle separated our beds, one was screaming on getting a jab, the other had a coughing bout, which was driving me crazy along with my own pain. The emergency ward looked dismal with peeling paint,dull lighting and cowebs. Only after the paperwork was done, the empanelled lady doctor came and examined me. A drip was started and a battery of tests were prescribed.

With great difficulty my husband managed to procure an A.C room. I was shifted from the emergency to the private room. I was in a shock to see the bed linen which had been changed a few minutes before my arrival. The white linen had turned yellow and it was torn at the edges. They did not heed to our request of changing the linen. Being uneasy due to the pain and heat, I wanted to switch on the A.C but it wouldn’t work. After imploring to them the mechanic was sent to repair it.

The room had a couple of lizards to keep us company and the worst was when I tried to use the loo. It was terrible, the commode seat broken, yellowed to the hilt, the bidet leaking and roaches in the basin. I was in tears as the hospitals charge per day for the room and the upkeep was awful.

Somehow I managed that night but I wanted to change the room. Next day I was taken for a battery of tests and it was sheer serendipity that a big hernia was discovered along with some gynec problems. The verdict was passed, I was to get a surgery immediately. So being a double surgery, both the gynec and surgeon co-ordinated and decided the day. I was put on strong medication before the surgery to eliminate chances of infection. The nurses came in shifts to cater to me. They were no la Florence Nightingales but young, underpaid girls who had chosen this profession due to family problems. They looked undernourished, no white, starched uniforms or zeal to nurse. It was out of sheer desperation they came and looked after the patients. That night I experienced excruciating pain even after medication and hubby found it difficult to locate the nurse on duty as they had all gone to bed. With great difficulty one was roused and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she gave me a morphine jab.

Food provided for patients was insipid, so mine came from home.

Having informed the doctor’s regarding my drug allergies, a separate file was made but as I was wheeled in for surgery the anaesthesiologist was not informed about it. When I discussed about it, she looked ignorant. The file was sent on our insistence and now she became reluctant to give the anaesthesia. She discussed the pros and cons, hubby was made to sign a form and then with great difficulty she agreed to go ahead with the process. Soon I was wheeled in the O.T, which hardly had the spic and span look but I could do nothing. And before I could say Jack Robinson, the anaesthesia had been administered and I had drifted into a slumber.

While I lay on the table, hubby was sent to and fro to fetch medicines, sutures et al, which should have been arranged by the hospital before the surgery took place. He uncomplaingly made those trips to the hospital pharmacy.

After surgery I was sent to the I.C.U for observation for a day before sending me to my private room.

The minute I regained my consciousness, I found myself in a large room, surrounded by several other patients, I couldn’t move, a monitor was installed to keep a check on my vital parameters. I felt nauseated so no food and drink was allowed. Hubby was asked to take rest in another room away from the I.C.U as their nursing staff would keep vigil all night and would cater to my needs. But the place instead of being sterile was infested with mosquitoes, which feasted on my blood all night. My voice had turned hoarse, trying to call the staff, once they catered but nightlong no one heard my cries. Early morning when hubby came, I heaved a sigh of relief. He too looked weary as he had been a one man army catering to my needs. A day before the surgery, he had been sent on a nightly jaunt to a faraway blood bank to procure a pint of blood for emergency during the surgery. A blood bank is essential for every hospital but this one had none.

Poor guy had given his own blood as his blood group matched mine and he could not procure blood at such a short notice.

Soon I was shifted to the private room, which gave me negative vibes. The nursing staff came at regular intervals but other caregivers hardly bothered to see to the patient’s needs. The doctor’s too visited once a day, with no time to give a sympathetic ear to my problems. It was all mechanical.

Six woeful days came to an end and I was discharged from the hospital. A successful surgery and hospital discharge should provide respite to the patient and his attendants but it becomes a pain in the neck. Ward boys, aayahs all need the “bakshish” for the services rendered before they let you leave the hospital premises, even the wheelchair operator needs it to wheel you from your room to the exit door.

By the time the patient leaves the hospital, there is anxiety writ on his face instead of a smile as he has developed a dent  in the pocket. Medical expenses are exorbitant and can take a toll on one’s pocket.

I returned in one piece but dread to visit the hospital again.

As it is said “The hospital bed is a parked taxi,where the meter is running.” 

Author Dr.Preeti Talwar – A science doctorate, proofreader, freelance writer. Published at Women’s Web, Bonobology, Hitovad, Your Story.Com, Chicken Soup Series, Science Reporter, Fuzia,  Story Mirror etc.


Picture Credit: www.palpalindia.com 


About Preeti Talwar 12 Articles
Preeti Talwar - is a science doctorate, freelance writer, proof reader. Published in The Chicken Soup Series, Reader's Digest ,Hindustan Times, Hitovad, Bonobology etc. Wielding the pen and laddle with elan is her forte. Writing is cathartic for her soul.
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