EXPERTISE: In many cases like mine I have more experience than the medical intern or resident doctor asking me questions before deciding on treatment to prescribed!

By Rajan Narayan

Unless you are a VIP at the Goa Medical College & Hospital you are at the mercy of the junior most residents….

THE Goa Medical College has, I discovered last week, a Covid-19-cum-Intensive Care Ward (Ward 120, a little further up to Casualty location). On the instigation of a good friend of the better three-quarters, I was taken to GMC on Monday, September 26, 2022. The claim was that I may be suffering from covid-19 pneumonia. I have tested negative half-a-dozen times for covid-19 and yet tests are done every time a patient goes to the GMC. There are no symptoms. So how have I suddenly developed covid-related pneumonia?
I understand that the most senior citizens who have suffered through covid eventually die of pneumonia, because their lungs are compromised. In my case the panic on Monday morning was prompted by a very rare episode of my being breathless.
The better three-quarters got panicky. Got everyone to persuade me to go to the GMC and the covid intensive care ward. I was sleeping early in the morning very peacefully. The better three-quarters called a private ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived my admin manager and my personal security officer also arrived. All of them pressuring me to go to the hospital. After a lot of reluctance I had no choice but to agree to go and may be it was my last chance to live or to die.
At Casualty they did the usual checks and scans and at covid ward they check your oxygen levels and put you on to a respirator to pump up you oxygen level. While other checks like X-ray, ultra-sound, blood test, etc, are done and reports gathered. Sometimes, they do extra scanning to confirm something.
In the normal course when they do a blood sample they do it in batches. In this case they isolate only your blood sample for intensive testing for links with pneumonia. It is not only the blood check. Almost every other parameters to do with lungs are checked out. The only thing they ignored and which required urgent attention in my case was the pain along my spinal and neck area which has become like a constant migraine headache! They were no concerned about the patient’s other problems.

six hours non-stop!
All the slow motion testing they did on me took almost six hours. Ironically, the other covid patients suspected of pneumonia infection who tested positive for covid were put in a corner place for oxygen intake respirator. They probably knew the end was near.
Patients at the GMC don’t have decent washrooms or bathrooms to use. The medical staff do but in this case patients may or may not use the toilets where they may be water or no water even for staffers. Toilets at the GMC in wards and public areas are so bad even a pig wouldn’t use it. This time, because I had not made any arrangement to use the toilet with the private ward at the GMC,I was at wit’s end when I felt I had to remove the respirator mask and go find a toilet where I could be private for a while – in the end I had to make do with the washroom shared with the staff and managed to relieve myself.
AT the end of five hours the junior resident who was in charge of such an important responsibility, told me that he wanted to get me admitted. I know the meaning of the expression very well! This means that they were going to continue to experiment on me. I was proved right when I called up a senior covid specialist and told him that in the course of earlier procedures conducted by him, there were no signs of covid pneumonia.
If you have a high fever it does not mean you have got covid-19 or pneumonia. It could be a simple malaria (although there is nothing simple about malaria). It could be dengue or one of the other things relating to mosquitos which incidentally flitted in the covid ward. If you have a fever go to a pathologist and get a blood test done. If you suffer from breathlessness go to a pulmonary specialist. This is often linked to the lungs. The standard test is a lung function test. There are standard tests, therapies and medications for these conditions conditions.
What shocks me anew is the hospital system in government hospitals. Ideally, the first person to examine you should be a senior clinician, who takes a patient’s detailed history. On the basis of the tests recommended it’s the expert doctor who decides treatment you need.
In the GMC the first place you go to is the Casualty and the first person you meet is the casualty medical officers who will ask what is your problem. You tell him what your problem is and then he or she will either admit you or reject you. If you are a frequent patient and admitted again the first person to see you will not even be a senior doctor, but an intern, a medical student doing his apprenticeship. It is he who collects your basic health history all over again.
SURELY, the most important aspect in any area of investigation, be it in medicine or rocket science, the person interviewing you should have some knowledge of the patient! A personnel manager or director has a brief on what the job involves. It is based on this that fresh recruitments are made.

media recruitment!
I must admit I have never followed any organized method of recruitment! Over the last 50 years when I have recruited staff in the media business, I have ignored biodata and background. Instead I tell those seeking a job that they have been recruited for a week to do a job and on the basis of performance they get or don’t get the job. If they succeed in the practical school of journalism they get recruited, otherwise they get kicked out. Alas, this is not so in medical school and after my recent experience in the covid ward of the GMC I am even more convinced that the medical care services need to be thoroughly reviewed vis-à-vis how patients should be treated – not like meat on a chopper but like human beings and patients first. Young doctors in waiting may not treat patients and especially senior patients with disdain under any circumstance. All patients deserve to be treated like VIPs no matter from which strata of society they come from.

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