India: sights, sounds, and smells
Amlan Basu spent four weeks at the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, India, discovering an ethos of medicine that was totally different to anything that he had ever come across before
- By: Amlan Basu
It would be a waste of time and energy to go to a hospital in India with any expectations or preconceived ideas. Is that too bold an opening statement? Then let me qualify it, if only to appease the anti-sensationalists. Preconceptions would be a waste of time and energy if your medical knowledge was confined to the developed Western world, as mine was.
To anticipate the experience that India offers is a mistake because, even within the hospital setting, India is an unpredictable bombardment of the senses.
The hospital that I visited, although essentially a fee paying hospital, prides itself on the fact that people only pay what they can afford. Some facilities though--for example, paediatric intensive care--come at a definite cost.
A baby is admitted gasping for air and is at first manually ventilated (“bagged”) by a junior doctor. Before transferring the baby to intensive care, the parents are