Thursday, August 31, 2006

The hospital IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for your valuables

As we - D, our domestic help, and I - entered the Emergency Medicine Dept. at St. John's the guard at the entrance halted us to ask the patient's name which I dutifully said adding that it was a head injury - an emergency case. Then he asked me my name which I mumbled before he relented to direct us. A few metres on at the other end of the corridor the second guard, making sure he disbursed his duties well, stopped us again to carry out the charade. And as all this transpired D was bleeding profusely - the towel wrapped around his wound soaked like a cigarette butt in public loos. Finally after we were let in into the Priority - 1 room a doctor (a lecturer in medicine) took an interested look and asked a few questions before he asked his junior - a PG student Mr. T - to diagnose him. Mr. T now enquired his quota; he hadn't paid attention the first time they were asked. He wrote down the rather lengthy report - left lateral laceration, 8 cm long, 1.5 cm deep, weapon involved: kitchen knife, address, thumb impression, etc) during which a few nubile interns gathered around him and invited him to their world with enticing smiles and he in turn blushed baby pink. And after a good 20 mins of entering the premises we were asked to get an X - ray done of the skull ( Anterior-Posterior and lateral). The X-ray room was a 100 metres walk. And after it was done the operator refused to give me the X ray saying that it'll be sent to the Priority -1 room. So I went back only to be asked by Mr. T for the X-ray. After listening to me he ordered someone to fetch it from the X ray room since they normally took a long time to send it across.

As we waited a few Sisters got together for some chit-chat. I hadn't paid them any attention until then and what I saw made me rue it. Miss I was telling Miss J about this new intern from Germany, "I've heard he's very intelligent. He has won many prizes and all." I turned to stare at a 6 ft 5 in giant. Meanwhile the X-ray report arrived and it became the cause cèlébre as every soul worth an ounce of medical literature decided to look into it. It was determined beyond the reasonable doubts of a few too many noble docs, interns,etc that there was no damage to the cranium (thats why the X ray had been done in the first place) . There was a brief 'pehle aap' fiasco between the German Mr. G and the Indian Mr. T as to who would treat the patient. By seniority Mr. T won the vote. The stage was set. Or so I had thought.

In the emergency ward of a hospital as big as St. John's at any given point of time there are 8 - 10 suture sets. But right then there wasn't a single one. All had been despatched to be sterilised (hygiene is of paramount importance of course) My patience running thin while having already waited 15 mins for the suture set I asked Mr. T as to why they couldn't/didn't send the sets in batches instead of all at once. He reassured me - "It happens man."

When the suture set arrived a trolley was rolled on wheeled legs with the necessary equipment. Mr. T put on his rubber gloves only to find: there is no razor to shave off the hair off the scalp surrounding the laceration. So another hunt began, and the razor wass hunted down after 10 odd mins but it turned out useless without a blade which was eventually got from a simpering Sister. And then the suture started. Since it was quite a long and deep incision it took time. While Mr. T was on his 3rd stitch the Sisters and attendants had vanished and a swelling beacuse of a blood clot (haematoma) had developed. I was asked, "Do you fear the sight of blood?" I said, "No" and I was invited over to assist Mr.T !!!

Now because of the fresh blood that kept collecting at the site of the wound a soft, pulpy mound had formed. When a stitch was put blood would ooze/ gush out of the puncture site because of the pressure built up by the rupture of the blood vessels in the area. Increasingly it was becoming difficult to tie it up. I helped by pouring Povidine-Iodine solution into a cup, giving gauzes to Mr. T by forceps, replenishing the saline in the saucer and asking D, the victim, to pinch himself hard to take his mind off the pain. 12 stitches were put in place after a drawn out hour. Mr. T taking the advice of a senior surgeon put on Dynaplast (a kind of elastic band) over the tomb that had formed by now. Wiping off the blood off the face and hair took another 10 mins after which a Sister who had vanished earlier handed me 3 prescriptions.

The St. John's pharmacy is overworked and understaffed. It took me an hour to get the medicines. And finally after enquiring about the doses and outpatient facilities it was time for home.

12 stitches, 140 cm of non-absorbable suture wire (Ethilon), a huge quantity of blood, 4 and a 1/2 hours and an extremely frustrating experience later all I remember is this:

1) During one of the many waits I asked the German guy as to 'what if there is a serious emergency?' (I had to put it that way since a plain, simple emergency had lost it's effect). He said 'but there isn't one now.' I stressed on the 'what if' part and regretted it because he told me next, ' This is India. It happens all the time.' After enquiring I came to know he had been there for 5 weeks but he said he was sure of what he said. A German has the audacity to say this about one of the premier hospitals of Bangalore.

2)Doctors are esteemed a lot. They are veritable demi-gods. But one who is insincere can make you sick to your bone and you get to know this the hard way. We all cheat and fool around at our jobs but a doctor in the emergency dept. simply cannot afford it. It's a God-forsaken place where tempers run high and patiences run thin and to look at Sisters having crushes by the minute, interns make silly passes, or male attendants mistaking boobs for faces is a blood-boiling thing. There are genuinely sacrificing doctors and nurses no doubt and I understand how difficult life must be for them. But the ones who are not - God forbid them from you.

3)And all this had started because of what the security guard of an adjacent building had to say to D: that the hair on his chin was more than the hair in his (D's) loins.

4) The hospital is not responsible for your valuables. (This was written in the Emergency dept) If your life is a valuable then bad luck!


shantanu said...

oye i hope D is okay now....

Rohan said...

Bhaiya...hum cool ho gaye hai
give him a bashing man. ask ankit to do it

satyajit said...

D's social circle is beginning to alarm us now man..