Sunday, December 24, 2006

Medical Care, Death and Others!!

Level-Playing Field!! That term has never been felt by me in such a way as during a recent visit to the Medical College Hospital in Calicut. An Eye-Opener for many of the Elite who live in their own ivory towers. It was just this week when I had a chance to go there, as one of my relatives is admitted there. A walk through the wards are enough to open the eyes of many of the people, who never leave the coziness of the Private Super Speciality Hospitals!!

The rich can afford an expensive health care system!! The withdrawal of the State from the Primary Health Care Sector has meant that the poor have been neatly deprived of one of the prime matters for any population. Coming back to the visit to the Medical College, the building itself has all the looks of a governmental structure. The white and yellow white washed walls, with dark green being colour of the linen and hospital clothes. Perhaps that colour seemed to set the tone for the system to be used by the common masses. The wards having a limited number of beds, has patients occupying even the floors. Even the corridors have people lying all over!! The doctors-both the seniors as well as the house surgeons, or the final year medical students come visiting in one go, the nurses going on having a carefree approach and going about their jobs of administering medicines with no emotions on their faces-perhaps they feel its part of their job and is also a daily slog-and then the relatives coming in all hues, the common hospital food being served as regular meals, the scent of medicines and surgical equipments and much more...........

The Calicut Medical College is the largest hospital in the Malabar region and has also the distinction of being the hospital to have the largest number of children being born in Kerala-some records even call it dealing with the largest pregnancies in Asia-even Yours truly was born here. This has went to such lengths that now a separate building has been built to handle pregnancies alone!! But to go on to the real issue, the hospital becomes the mirror reflecting the real life in the country, that is the Common Masses. Talking to my relative revealed that, the ward in which she lay had seen nine deaths since she had been admitted there. One such death was when they were having their lunch. After the body was taken away, she decided not to continue her meal. Death just seems a reality. More than that, it is a Fellow-Traveller here!!! It takes into its fold all the people, not looking at their class, caste, religious and gender backgrounds. The people are helpless in its front as the feeling of Death stalks stealthily. The Medical College is a microcosm of the larger macro India out there. The tale of the Medical College in Calicut is not restricted to Kerala, but also reflects the same story in the whole of the country. Something that has to be witnessed by every citizen of this country, irrespective of his/her background. In fact, it would be a great anthropological exercise to go indepth to study the government medical institutes and hospitals of the country. The compulsory One Year Internship in a Primary Health Centre in the countryside, now practiced as ration should strictly be made formal, for the Medicos see the profession more as a money-churning exercise rather than as a service to humanity. Some even forgetting the Oath of Hippocrates. The rush now is to get an MBBS and fly out of the country to the foreign shores. The need is to put a full stop there, for the people dying each passing hour due to the lack of proper medical care is quite high.

Returning to the case of the Medical College Hospital, the Level-Playing Field seems have reached the optimum level. Perhaps, thats the visual I take as I descend the steps of that 'great Institute'. As they say, Death is a great Leveller!!May be atleast in death, all the people lose those fundamental contradictions between the Haves and the Have Nots. For all the people are destined only 6 feet of earth in the end!!!!

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