This last week was amazing. I was actually disappointed that I wasn’t able to get this post up sooner but that’s the way things go.
I have been so inundated with new opportunities that I’ve found it hard to focus on anything other than research. Now that I am done with my interviews and the collection of some 300 surveys has gone pretty seamlessly I’ve found it easy to catch up on some of the more extraneous parts of this experience. This post however is being focused on an amazing experience that I had last week visiting a Government Hospital in the neighboring state of Kerala.
Where we live in Tamil Nadu is in close proximity to the neighboring state of Kerala by only about a 30 min bus ride to get to the boarder. Last Thursday I got together with Emma to take a short trip over to the capital of Kerala, Kochi. We went to take advantage of an offer that I got to visit one of the Government Hospital. I received this offer from a young and amiable doctor that I met at Ortho One Hospital here in Coimbatore. His name is Dr Cherian and he is an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital. He offered to give Emma and me a private tour when I told him about our research projects. Emma came along to get a separate tour of the maternity ward and the gynecology department. It was an amazing trip.
In one day I got to see so intimately the workings and structure of one of the hardest to enter facilities in India. The fact is that there is a lot to be done. I realized after my visit that a General Hospital is a scary and hard place to go into and not come out a different person.
I have visited once the main medical college here in Coimbatore and the comparison even between the two was dismal. The general hospital in Kochi is supposed to be the best in India. Thus as far as General Hospital standards go it was excellent but in all reality they know and the government knows that there has to be huge strides made in medical care if they are to provide a place of safe reliable medical care for their citizens.
I was also able to tour the Operation Theatre. In a matter of an hour and a half I saw 5 surgeries. The doctor then had one of the administrators of the hospital lead me around for the rest of the day. After the surgeries we watched in the morning, Emma was taken straight to maternity ward and spent the rest of the day with the gynecologist. I was able to see everything from, the optometrist’s operation theatre to the nuclear medicine department where the best attempts of oncology procedures are taken out. It was quite the afternoon and I really began to see and understand the struggles that each of the department was facing with limited and under qualified staff. I was also able to observe the ever constant need for more and more resources from the Government that weren’t being allocated correctly. I found it insightful to take some time and talk with the patients about their experience in the hospital. Most of the reports were pretty depressing as they explained that they came as a last resort. However for all of the heartbreaks, the silver lining was that the general hospital in Kochi still outperforms many private hospitals all over India. I am hoping to use the interviews with Dr Cherian and the literature that they gave me for my lit review for my final paper. It has also been a huge help to see the workings of all these systems to make a more accurate evaluation of the status of healthcare currently in India.
This will be my second last blog due to the ending of our projects. We leave next week, which will mark our 13th week in the field. Look out for one more post before I return home.