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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Healthcare….Do the doctors and hospitals care about the patients??


Going to a super specialty hospital at Chennai was quite sickening for it looked more like a government hospital with hardly any space to walk nor sufficient seating arrangements for the patients in various counter due to very large crowd of patients and their attendants. Most people I saw yesterday in the hospital are from Bengal and to cater to their needs the hospital authorities have even employed a Bengali to be seated in the help desk. Medical tourism is not only for foreigners but also for Indians staying in other states and generally Chennai and Vellore draw huge crowd from various parts of India and from the Middle East.

 Hospital is a hospitality service industry but then the way the secretaries and the other hospital personnel deal with the patients are much to be desired for since they carry out their service as though they are doing favors to patients. The said hospital does charge hefty fees for their services but they hardly bother about the hardship the patient is undergoing…..we were in the hospital from 10am to 3.30pm just for a 10 minute consultation with the doctor. But then if you have a friend or a relative working in the same hospitals then all rules are broken and they get preferential treatment and are able to meet the doctors even if they do not have an appointment. There have been various movements in India to curb favoritism /corruption in all walks of life and the recent Anna Hazare movement galvanized the population of India to fight against all sorts of corruption but then unless all of us have a common goal the root of corruption will never get uprooted for ages to come.

Another thing I noticed is that a doctor would suddenly leave his cabin while examining the patients and inform the secretary that he would be back in a short while but would not come back for over a hour or even longer and the usual excuse given is that there was an emergency either in the ward or in OT. The out patients waiting for the doctor has no other option but to wait in vain for the doctor to return and finish their consultation. It is understood that going to a hospital means that the whole day needs to be written off for but what irks me is that I have found the doctors to be chatting with other doctor friends elsewhere while the patients are waiting desperately to see the doctor. An incident occurred few years back in another super specialty hospital in the city….I had gone to meet the specialist in connecting with some gastro issues and were waiting in the reception for the doctor to come to his cabin but alas he was in the opposite cabin chatting with another doctor and a friend for over a hour. On approaching the reception and asking her to inform the doctor that we are waiting to see.. She tells us that doctor is busy in a technical discussions and he cannot be disturbed whereas we could hear the conversation and the laughing the cabin and they were engrossed in casual talks and jokes!!! That was the last straw and I walked out of the hospital much to anger of my wife and to this day I refuse to go to that particular doctor.

It is sellers market in health sector because of the reputation and brand image each one has created in their respective field. When we or our relative has fallen sick or have recurring health issues we tend to go to the hospital which has famous doctors in the field and doing so we have to bear the brunt of lousy service, hefty charges and so forth. There are so many doctors who are good, quite humble and approachable but then their brand image is zero or zilch and hence they are not preferred by the general public and they languish in small time polyclinics plying their practice or set up their own clinics. 

The views written above are purely my views due to the experience I have had in hospitals and in no way a negative thought against any hospital or a doctor. But the final conclusion is that healthcare in India is for privileged few who are wealthy or famous or having a relative working in the hospital!!!