Dec 3, 2009

Hospitals in India – Shame & Sham

“God save you from one who wears a white or a black coat”. My grandmother used to say this often. This was her way of blessing me with sound health and sound social life so that I stay far away from doctors and lawyers.

I often ponder over these words of wisdom and feel how right she was. In this world it is hardly possible now days that we do not visit doctors. A family member of mine was diagnosed with cancer some time back and since then I have made numerous visits to the hospitals.

Indian government runs the biggest healthcare scam in the whole world. Throughout my life I have paid my taxes and till date without fail. The government hospitals built from that money should supposedly treat my patient free of charge. But when I reach the so called best Medical Institution in Asia, I am asked to ‘help’ the admission in-charge so that the patient can be admitted. Cancer is a kind of disease which needs urgent attention and this so called best hospital in Asia gives me the date of biopsy and bone scan test after 35 days. The doctor is trying to convince me that such a delay is not harmful! He can give an earlier date if I can get his younger sister placed in my company.

With a life at stake, I showed middle finger to the hospital (indirectly to Indian Government) and got my patient admitted to one of the most prestigious private hospitals in Northern India. This is also one of the costliest. The hospital kept on asking me if I need a deluxe room as my patient will feel more comfortable there. I confronted them by asking the nurse in-charge a question. I asked her “Are your general wards better than govt. hospitals? If yes then continue treatment in general ward.” “I am in a hospital not hotel. I need a better doctor not deluxe room which I cannot afford” The doctors were punctual but have very high fees. I have no problem with a doctor charging his fee, I feel helpless when these hospitals start behaving like an Insurance agent who wants to sell me ULIP policy.

In the afternoon I decided to have lunch and went to the hospital canteens. Now they have a very well furnished coffee house along with a swank canteen. As I saw the menu I was shocked. They were selling Burgers, Pizza, Fried Rice, Fried Poori, Oily cholles. All junk food! And just 20 minutes back the medical superintendent was selling me executive junk free diet program. This hospital is Selling & Promoting Junk food and that too at exorbitant prices. Only food item available was 2 idlies plate without sambher for, hold your breath. 64 Rs plus taxes. I decided to try food outside the hospital. I had to walk 3 kms to get a roadside shop where I could eat my complete lunch for 25 rupees. I asked the food vendor why no food seller near the hospital. His reply was equally shocking. He said that the hospital bribed the local police and they dragged away the food sellers and shut down chemist shops. They said like anywhere else a few local chemists started their shops and a few food sellers started the shops. It was mainly the chemists that were giving this hospital a competition by selling medicines at a discount. So police dragged them all. And when I observed I realized that in fact there is no chemist shop within 5 km distance of this hospital. Now this is Indian Police for you with you always!

Later this hospital told me that all chemotherapy drugs will be charges at MRP. This hospital has a chain of pharmacy stores and they offered me a 10% discount on all drugs. I asked them to procure the drugs from their own pharmacy chain but they blatantly refused. This is a 600 bed hospital and the land was given to it for Rupee 1 with a condition that it treats 1/3 rd of poor patients free. The land alone is worth more than 3500 crore rupees at present. This hospital was fined recently by health ministry for not allocating 200 beds to treat poor patients. And guess the fine Rs 2 lakhs only! There is 3500 crore of grant given and just Rs 2 lakh fine for flouting the promise? Shame on you Indian Health Ministry Shame on you. It’s because of you that millions of Indians die unattended for need of medical care. You are the fraudsters of the century.

Meanwhile, I have moved the patient to a nursing home where chemotherapy drug is administered to her. The cost of chemotherapy has come down by 40%. Though I do not know if I will be able to continue the 12 cycles of chemotherapy treatment, but I will keep on writing against this corrupt Indian set up on this blog where the protector is the tormentor.