Monday, November 8, 2010

The Medical OPD

The day started with a visit to the medical OPD (Out Patient Department). Anyone can walk in there to see a doctor. The waiting area was wall-to-wall people, pushing and shoving. A sick person had no business being there! The Delhi Police was busy guarding Obama, who is in town today. They were needed in the waiting area. A few street-smart dogs had also taken residence here.

The patients then enter the doctor’s consultation room. It was about twenty feet by fifteen feet. There were five doctors seeing patients. There were about thirty other people in the same room. The mobile phones (cell phones) were producing different musical melodies from Bollywood. People had selected the melodies as ring tones. Sometimes they belonged to the patients sometimes to the doctors. Everybody answered their phones and carried on.

There were no signs of any nursing personnel in the neighborhood. There was a guard at the door. There may have been another orderly. The doctors took patients' blood pressure only when needed. There was no thermometer anywhere that I could see. There was a six by eight foot room in the back with a bed. A patient could be examined there in privacy. That room was not used during my stay in the area.

Business was brisk. Doctors would ask four to ten questions and would prescribe something or the other. Several patients were sent for lab or X-ray. The average time per patient was under five minutes. The doctors had spent the previous night in the Emergency Medical Ward. To say that the doctors were tired would be a gross understatement.

In a back room senior doctors were seeing patients. The pace here was a little slower. Only patients from the front room, who needed a second opinion or other special patients were seen here.

A well-built patient (that means he must be at least middle or upper middle class), in his fifties was next. He was complaining of lower backache. The doctor inquired about his back and then started asking about the rest of the body systems. The patient had severe symptoms of prostate enlargement, had difficulty in breathing on exertion, bronchitis off and on for years and significant recent weight gain. I am glad the doctor stopped asking questions at this time otherwise the patient would need a whole body transplant!

Drug representatives with huge backpacks also came in to pitch their wares. They handed out their cards and drug information but did not hand out any goodies. The doctor patiently listened. The girl you see standing with a backpack graduated from university two months back. She has a bachelor's degree in Medical Technology. She started working as a drug rep right away. After one month of training she was pushing her stuff flawlessly. American corporates ideas had arrived in the medical OPD!

No comments:

Post a Comment