Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some Time Their Way

Dad was in the hospital last week. He was diagnosed with fever arising out of a liver infection. I took him to a nursing home suggested by the doctor who has been monitoring his condition since 2005. I have faith on the doctor and when dad falls seriously ill, I take heart from the fact that he’ll be okay if I can somehow get him examined by this doctor. I assure my mom saying that if we pay the exorbitant bills of the nursing home and this particular doctor, there is no cause of concern about dad getting well.

Things cruised smoothly for four days, the first day of which he spent in the Intensive Care Unit. Things spiraled out of control when I tried to get him discharged. I had decided to pay the bill during lunch hour and take him home after my office. But I did not know the delay that was waiting for me. 

The cashier had asked me in that morning to come at 2pm and pay. He nodded his head from the extreme right to the extreme left, reassuring me that the work will be done in ten minutes. He promised to keep the bills ready. Believing him was my greatest mistake.

When I turned up at 1.50pm, nothing was ready. I had asked my office HR to spare me fifteen-twenty extra minutes after lunch hour got over at 2.30pm, should I get late. My idea was to get the work done so that I can avoid taking a day off from office. I looked around for the cashier who had assured me. He was not to be found. I ran around from desk to desk to get the paper-work ready. The nurses were irritated on being asked to do something, the Resident Medical Officer refused to hold the pen during the unearthly hour of 2pm.

Finally when the paper-work got done at 2.30pm, I was told for the first time that they have a lunch hour till 3pm. I have no right to protest if I want my work to be done. I waited. The HR back in office was getting impatient. He refused to see reason in my logic that an hour conceded that day can actually earn a whole working day for the company. 

At 3pm, the iron shutters opened to reveal a drowsy lady behind the computer at the cash counter. She told me the nurses were preparing the bills, it’ll take half an hour for that to get done! I waited. At 3.30pm I knocked again. She told me the bills were there but she needed to make entries on her machine. There is no LAN facility or whatever. I didn’t expect it also. Again I was back in the waiting room.

Around 4pm, she called me. The bill exceeded the estimate they had given me. I had to rush to the nearest ATM and get the extra money. When I was on the verge of bursting in indignation, she started checking each 500 rupee note in a ultra-violet light! To top it, the plug of this light was loose and she had to hold it with one hand. When I ultimately got through and rushed out into a cab, the HR called me to say that I have been marked ‘half-day absent’ because I was out for too long!

After these few days after the incident, I don’t know whom to blame. If the state of affairs in a private nursing home is this, what can be expected of government-aided hospitals and medical institutions? I wonder where we are headed as a country and as a state. Staff at hospitals and nursing homes comes across as extreme procrastinators. The irony is that ideally they have to be the most alert of all professionals because they deal with moments that decide life and death. I’m disappointed to say the least.

1 comment:

Nandini said...

I would like to share one incident in this context.
I had an operation just after my 10th exam.
My anesthetist asked for the thousands, we were supposed to pay, from a half closed door of the OT before letting me out after the surgery.
So, this is the Compassion a health care professional shows today.