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So, as you all know I’ve been shadowing at an Indian government hospital for the last few weeks. Recently, I ended up going to an uber expensive, uber nice private hospital with my grandparents. Now, a few words on the differences.

 

Firstly, the government hospitals. The doctors there are excellent- well trained (not by the training, as much as the practice of seeing that huge patient load), they function with minimal resources and use novel solutions and approaches. They offer excellent treatment options, try to minimize risks to the patient and generally do what’s right. They don’t sugarcoat a patient’s prognosis, nor do they mince words. I’ve heard them tell patients with regards to a degenerative disease “baal safed hoten hain, na, voh safed hote rahenge- hum dhere kar sakte hain, rok nahi sakte” namely, as your hair gets white when you age, it keeps getting whiter, right? We can’t stop your hair (disease) from getting whiter (worse), but we can slow it down.

The downside to a government hospital- the crowding. Treatment is uber cheap, but due to the sheer patient load, you hit delays after delays and are more likely to die of an infection than of the treatment’s risks. Also, a lot of the patients who come in are being seen after days- precious days which if treatment were instituted earlier could have had a different outcome.

 

Private hospitals on the other hand, have no problem with overcrowding. Doctors have time for you, they’re soft, polite, soothing and charming. They’re understanding of your concerns and are willing to change your treatment based on what your limitations are. The flip side is, from what I’ve heard from physicians on staff, they are quite willing to “order” surgeries for patients who don’t really need it, to make their required bottom lines. The upside is, they’re shining clean, the staff is typically quite nice and fairly competent. Your chances of dying from infection are rather slim, however the general idiotic actions in medicine, are quite common there. One of the things I’ve heard from a patient at one of India’s best private hospitals, is that after a blood sample was taken and analyzed, the remainder of the blood was (with some air) injected back into his veins. As he put it, he sat there waiting for the pulmonary embolus that would kill him. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

 

If you ask me, where I would go- I’d say I’d go to a government hospital for a surgery or a consult, but not to be admitted- for that I’d choose a private hospital.

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