Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What They Won’t Tell You (And You Will Have to Find Out the Hard Way) If You Are Admitted in an Indian Hospital

Following are a compilation of the simple things that could lead to a better stay in a hospital if you or your loved ones have an emergency and are admitted to a hospital. I have compiled it during a recent stay in the hospital.

Disclosure: Indian healthcare isn't picture perfect. Apparently we have approximately ten hospital beds per 10,000 individuals in this country which had promised healthcare for all by 2000, which is still a long way off. And some of the private hospitals are nothing but extortion centres. They put the fear of death into you and then ask you to pay up, remember, bhai ishtyle.

So, um, read the following carefully until your eyes bulge out, because it could save your/your loved ones life at some time:

1. Ask around about the reputation of the hospital and its professionalism. Are the doctors qualified? Are the nurses trained? Are medicines available?

2. They will put you on drips and tubes continuously and restrict movement without telling you that you can interrupt the procedure to go to the bath room. When you are admitted either you are too shy or too overwhelmed by the men and women in white coats to ask to go to the bathroom. Please don't be shy, and even be bold enough to "go" in the bed, because if you don't you will be diagnosed as "uremic" and given treatment which will definitely give you a urinary disease.

3. If you just submit to all their tubes, you will end up being uremic (accumulate urine) and that will lead to using the catheter which is not a very good for your kidneys. They will go to the next step of treating you for uremia without admitting it was their responsibility to inform you of the consequences of putting so many tubes on you.

4. Whatever the medicines, ask what it is for and what it will do. There is something called “informed consent” by which they are bound to inform you

5. Always have someone beside you, if possible. Doctors are notorious for demanding an incredible number of things.

6. Have nurses give you the medicine and the water, instead of telling you just to have the medicine yourself. They are paid to do that.

7. Body movement is most essential for recovery. So don’t lie down all the time, get up and walk around the room at fixed intervals.

8. First thing they do on admission is insert a “canula” into you to transmit all those fluids. Insist that it is done by an experienced nurse. Or you will have swelling at the place where the insertion has been made and even pain.

9. If the canula is inserted then the nurse should use this to inject all sorts of injections and shouldn’t inject in other parts of the body.

10. Insist on a clean sheet everyday and two pillows to prop you up. They should have a supply of these.

11. Ask, ask, ask. Always ask “what is this” and “what is that” and have a positive attitude. Add a few kind words so that you aren’t classified as difficult.

12. Never be afraid to change hospitals if you find the service lacking, or, if qualified doctors aren’t available. After all it’s your life.

13. Ask for the room and toilet to be cleaned everyday.

14. Always have a room with proper ventilation

15. Ask for mosquito coils if there are too many mosquitoes at night

16. Check if the hospital’s food is okay. Otherwise make arrangements yourself. You don’t want to fall even more sick.

17. Check if the hospital’s drinking water supply is okay, if boiled water is being supplied.

18. Check if genuine drugs are being used. There are an incredible number of spurious drugs in the market.

19. Above all, doctors aren’t the “mini-gods” they used to be. So question every treatment and procedure. They are always being induced by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe their products.

20. If a medicine prescribed isn’t available, ask if there is an alternative to it.

21. Have plenty of reading material, which will keep you alert and involved. If there is a television, it would be even better.

22. MOST IMPORTANT (How could I forget this? This is a re-post since I am known to make gaffes and then to go back and correct them later): They will never tell you that ambient hospital infections are a big killer. If you don't watch out your back could be a mess of welts and sores which can kill you slowly and painfully. No, they will never say a thing about taking simple precautions, but when the sores appear they will declare with some sadistic delight that you have "bed sores". Believe me, then you feel like strangling them, because it is their easily washable hard rexine-covered matress that caused it in the first place. There is no high-profile medicine for "bed sores" except your facial talcum powder. Smear your back, neck, buttocks with this cheap medicine two times a day to keep your skin smooth and avoid formation of painful bed sores. Good luck!

23. Beware of the know-all, smirking specialist doctor. They will pass judgement even before they have diagnosed your illness, which if at all they do deign to do will be a "jumping to conclusion" sort of diagnosis. Ask him plenty of questions and cut him down to size by asking him if he is qualified to make all those diagnoses "on the fly".

24. Insist on being given a bath or sponged everyday, if you can't do it yourself. Dirt on the body can lead to infection and will slow down recovery.

25. Don't panic, if you do things could get worse. So donnnnnttttt paaaaannnnniiiiiicccccc!

Above all, have a positive attitude whatever happens. Have faith. Remember, they are trained professionals but may be too overworked to give you the proper advice. Only your probing questions can keep them on their toes.

1 comment:

Pragya said...

What a complete nightmare! This when I keep hearing from those who love to beam about the giant strides in Indian healthcare about how perfect it now is!

My parents live in Canada now but were in India for six weeks and my Dad had to go for dialysis 4 days a week to Apollo Hospital in Delhi, he certainly has similar tales to tell.

Pragya