Monday, July 11, 2016

July 8 to July 10, 2016 - choices of life!

I don’t remember that I ever had to deal with two tragedies in one weekend.
It was a horrific time for two family members.

It is a paradox that while one died for completely avoidable reasons, the other survived.
The uncle who died went to the apex hospital in Bihar and yet couldn’t get very basic evaluations done.

A ‘heart-attack’ patient kept on observation - for 6 days - left to wither away as no one understood the degree of blockage of coronary arteries. The institution kept waiting to fix the angiography facilities. It had been waiting for 6 months as I now understand.

When it happens at an apex tertiary institution of the state - it poses serious questions about the state of public healthcare in Bihar.

Is the public hospital a place where one is brought for passing on the guilt or responsibility of death? 
Is it a place where one is wheeled in to try one’s natural defence systems ? Or, is it a place where one has to be actively healed?

In contrast is an aunt who was wheeled into an expensive private hospital.
She has temporarily survived, although no one really cared for her life. 

What I found appalling was that despite treating appropriately the doctors completely failed in explaining the nuances of treatment to the attendants. This coupled with the underlying mistrust about private healthcare led the patients to believe that my aunt was being over-treated. 

In my meditations, for last two days, I thought about the unwarranted death and the unwanted life!

Isn’t it paradoxical for a patient and its family? That they have to make choices - between saving money at equipment-less institutions and over-priced over-treatment. 

Health shouldn’t be broken like this and we need not make such choices. 
I am struggling with my meditations on:

a. Should health be declared a fundamental right?
b. Should there be a mechanism to ensure consistency and transparency?
c. How can we, the medical fraternity, win trust and respect of our brethren?

d. How can we be more humane?