Monday, November 1, 2010

Just another day

In the morning I met Dr. Hira. He is head of the Respiratory Medicine Department at Irwin Hospital. He showed me around his pulmonary lab, which included a sleep lab, a spirometry suite and a bronchoscopy room. He performed two bronchoscopies while I watched and video recorded one of them.

He said he used to do allergy skin tests but two patients had anaphylactic shock from the testing so he stopped doing them. We made a quick tour of the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit. It has about twelve beds. One patient had acute intermittent porphyria and could go into respiratory failure at any time. She had an oxygen monitor hooked up to her. It displayed the blood oxygen saturation on the monitor next to her. I asked Dr. Hira if there was a central station to monitor her oxygen level. He pointed to the medical residents and said they were his central monitoring stations!

The staircase going to the medical ward is lined with tiles. At strategic locations they have four decorative tiles, one showing Christ, the next one a Hindu deity, another one is a Moslem symbol, and finally one for the Sikhs. Dr. Hira explained that people had been spitting on the tiles. So they put up these tiles and now no one spits here (you cannot spit on Gods, after all). Unique problems call for unique solutions.

In the afternoon I visited office of Public Citizen Research Foundation. It is run by Arvind. The office was humming with the sounds of computers and people. There were about a dozen people, mostly in their twenties. I interviewed about seven of them and took their photos. I want to write a photo essay of the office. I belong to a group called the India Friends Association (IFA). This group supports some of the people recommended by Arvind. So I want to show IFA what the organization PCRF is like.

I don’t like two things about the Delhi Metro. First, they frisk you when you go there. A guy dressed as a security officer runs his hands all over you. There is a women policeperson to frisk the ladies. I do not like getting frisked by men. Second, is that on two occasions when I was travelling, young men offered me their seats. A sign above the seats said, “Please offer your seats to the old and disabled.”


  1. next time you go on metro, dress like a woman!!

  2. What if she frisks me in the wrong... I mean She will arrest me for being an underwear suicide bomber!!

  3. Uncle if you haven't noticed the younger generation has been offering you our seats since we were born. Meaning you were old 21 years ago. But still hilarious.

  4. um...did you obtain consent to videotape that surgery? Aren't you teaching medical ethics? :-)

  5. I took consent from the doctors to video the surgery. I did not take consent from the patient. Therefore I was careful to record the video from an angle, that did not show the patient's face.