Monday, August 5, 2013

A Comparison of Hospitals, The Catch 22

Today Shreshtha and I went to Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital. Shreshtha went to the nursing school that is attached to the hospital, thus I received an insider experience today. The Government of India (Ministry of Health Family Welfare) funds this hospital, meaning that all hospital visits, medications, outpatient care, and surgeries are free (similar to the BSA hospital I visited last week). Unlike the BSA hospital, however, this hospital is very similar the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer and Research Hospital. It was very easy to tell that the Government of India had placed much more money into making this hospital, while the state government of Delhi funds the BSA Hospital.

The RML is a much nicer hospital. They have private rooms, a garden, and a very large facility in total. The hospitals I have seen so far do not have waiting rooms for their patient’s families, but the RML has large enough spaces outside that seem to accommodate their needs. It is in a beautiful neighborhood, the center of Delhi. I would say that the biggest challenge with this hospital is that they do turn down patients, in order to avoid crowding in the hospital. If I were a patient or a faculty member in the hospital, I would be very happy that they have turn down patients, so that I would receive more attention and thus better care. On the opposite end, I would hate that system if I needed care and was turned away.

The BSA hospital does not turn anyone away, however, as stated in a previous blog posting, the standard of care is reduced. Despite the efforts to make the quality of care equivalent, the understaffed faculty physically cannot take on the load of patients that they do and not reduce the standard of care. It is a matter of overpopulation. On top of this, though, I feel that there are many factors that contribute to why the RML is nicer than the BSA hospital. The Government of India could have done a better job with its budgeting in comparison to the State Government of Delhi. Another factor that may come into play is that with nicer/wealthier areas come less communicable diseases. Also, the RML hospital is a newer hospital.

In terms of HIV/AIDS, the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) center was under construction, therefore I did not fully experience the workings of that center. The RML hospital has the same systems from what I have seen before – starting with counselors that guide the patients, determine their needs, and track their medications, ending with doctors providing even more medical therapy. However, one difference I did learn today, is the fact that they save these counselor positions for someone who is HIV positive. Looking more into it, it must be very difficult for someone with HIV/AIDS to get a job in India. If they receive their medications from the government, it must be very difficult to come in everyday and receive medications and maintain a job. From the patient’s perspective, going into a hospital can be quite scary. It may ease the tension if the first person they must talk to is someone who understands first hand what that patient is going through.

Our time at the hospital ended with visiting Shreshtha’s old nursing school. Also funded by the Government of India, it is a beautiful facility that accepts top students. In comparison, the Salokaya College of Nursing has a very different range of students. Salokaya takes students that would not normally go off to receive a higher education, works them very hard, and makes them top nurses.  Anyways, it was fun hearing about Shreshtha’s experiences in school and made us leave RML on a high note.

I am off to go teach a class to the new students at Salokaya now, hopefully I will be able to post the video on the blog! 

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