5 September 2006

Hospital News

I've been keeping this story to the side meaning to post it as it encapsulates so much of the drama of living in India and in particular at Tiruvannamalai.

However, yesterday evening I was reading the 'Drudge Report' online about two Rainbow travellers in Colorado. The two men on seeing discarded, rotten fruit lying outside a Produce Supplier, jumped the compound fence to get at it. Suddenly, whoosh! And everything unravelled. Now they are currently each serving 6 month prison sentences for taking discarded, rotten fruit! Initially, when I read the headlines, I assumed it was an Asian farce and was astounded when I read on and learnt it actually happened in beautiful Colorado.

The point is, my hospital story doesn't sound that weird anymore! All of a sudden crazy seems being out there! Anyhow here's the story: A patient was beaten up for refusing to give a bribe to an employee at the Tiruvannamalai District Government Hospital.

Apparently, after Siva (a farmer) sustained injuries from fireworks at a Temple Festival, he was rushed to the Government Hospital where employees demanded Rs.50/- (U.S.$1.25) for dressing his wound. Siva, the farmer told the hospital workers to complete the dressing and he would arrange for the money later. Once the work was finished, the farmer promised he would get the money from his relatives after they arrived at the Hospital.

Irked by this, one of the employees forced Siva into a room and beat him up. It is said that the employee was drunk and scolded the other hospital workers for treating Siva without first receiving bribe money.

Apparently it is not uncommon for employees at the Tiruvannamalai General Hospital to demand bribes from patients, including accident victims. I suppose a Hospital sometimes isn't the best place to go to when you're sick! Pity!


Kumar from Bombay said...

Hi, my name is Kumar. Like this Blog. Very good photographs and reports. The hospital story is true, the only thing is 50 rupees is cheap. You should come to my place Bombay and see how much you have to pay there.

Divyakka said...

Once I had to go to a public hospital in a major Indian city and I remember that before I was treated, I was given a torn-off scrap of paper with a huge amount on it, to be paid to a nurse on duty behind a counter. I had no choice as I was in practically unconscious condition, so I paid the amount, after which I was treated. While semi conscious laying on the hospital bed just hours after treatment, I was surrounded by several nurses looking hungrily at my purse, which when I was admitted into the hospital, I was advised to keep securely held tightly at all times. Before I left the next day, the same several nurses gathered around my bed and all held out their hands for their bribes (only one of those nurses had even helped in the treatment). It was a frightening experience. I only had a small amount left and gave them all Rs 20 bills and somehow got through the front door and out into the streets of “safety”, with them trailing behind and loudly complaining about the pathetically small amount (also demanding more bribes for nurses that were off-duty). On the other hand, twice I was in the Puttaparthi General Hospital (free of charge), once for Typhoid and once for Measles, for 10 days each time and I got excellent and loving care, with no demand or even hint for bribes at all (even donations are not accepted there). I wonder if other such charitable hospitals have such a high standard of care? Anyone have experiences to share?

Arunachala Living said...

You have alot of hospital stories Divyakka and many of them ugh! You should write a book on them.

We are lucky to have a very excellent Hospital called Rangamma Hospital here in Tiruvannamalai that was started up by a fascinating lady, Slyvia Wright.

Plan to write about the Hospital for the website, www.arunachalasamudra.org