GOA MODEL FOR SENIOR CITIZENS HEALTHCARE, PLEASE!

GRAND INAUGURATION OF CATH LABS & CORONARY CARE UNIT AT GMC’S SUPER SPECIALTY HOSPITAL: It was a moment to look back and look forward for the Cardiology department of the GMC on October 25, 2023 when a Health Minister Vishwajit P Rane did the honors in the presence of guest of honor Arun Kumar Mishra (IAS), Secretary, Health (government of Goa). Also present were Dean GMC, Dr Bandekar, HOD Cardiology Department, Dr Guruprasad Naik, HOD Medicine Dr Anar Khandeparker, Additional Secretary, Dr Dattaraj Sardesai, MS GMC, Dr Rajesh Patil and Nodal Officer Dr Uday Kakodkar.

LISTENING to Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane waxing lyrical about the Goa model for healthcare, so state-of-the-art and free for Goans, an example for the rest of underdeveloped India, I wanted to tell him since we have so many exemplary Goa models how about a Goa model for healthcare for senior citizens exclusive? For quite simply today’s public and private hospital models are designed to generate copious amounts of money – in the name of putting patients first of course!
And there is any amount of evidence of this now for every now and again we hear of how vulnerable patients are fleeced to death alive or dead. We hear of how needless Caesarean operations are done on women perfectly capable of delivering their babies naturally, surgeries galore on senior patients who can barely put up with the onslaught of high tech procedures and more and more expensive drugs, a video currently making the rounds shows how dead patients are kept dead on ventilator to fool relatives for as long as the noble hospital authorities can stretch it – before declaring death officially and returning body only after the colossal billing has been cleared.
Still weighing the good and bad and given that amongst the states of India, Goa is the most affected state given its number of elderly for such a small state, which has increased by 10.1% and will further increase to 13.1% by 2031 – I think it is in the fitness of things to have an exclusive hospital to care for the elderly with AYUSH-sanatorium facilities attached to it, with a clearly marked areas for male and female patients. If Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane can swing this (seeing how much he cares for his own elderly parents Pratapsingh and Vijayadevi Rane) he will truly be remembered as Goa’s grandest health minister!
Fact is most senior patients do not want to be treated invasively or with dramatic surgical procedures when they go to hospital with their chronic health issues. Our corporate hospitals are so monetised now that they think nothing of keeping an elderly patient in Casualty for hours on end to do a battery of tests before admitting him for further treatment – which virtually means stringing up frail 70 plus, plus patients to tubes of all kind – practically imprisoning the patient to his state-of-the-art hospital ward or room bed. Dried up veins are punctured for repeated blood tests, X-rays and CT-scans and MRIs with imaging dyes are carried out to come to the conclusion that the patient is close to death – if surgery is not done on him pronto.
So often all that senior citizens need is non-invasive, non-dynamic, non-profiteering modes of treatment to set them right on various issues like a perhaps a prescription change, diet change, a few treatments of the Naturopathy and Ayurveda kind like simple massages and mud-baths in the sun (please don’t knock this, their efficacy has been proven in empirical data) and a host of other non-invasive, non-druggist ways to give their malingering chronic quality of life a boost.
But neither our public state-of-the-art hospitals nor our private hospitals want to treat patients with this kind of thinking. Private corporate hospitals are not interested in non-lucrative senior citizen treatments! It’s a bizarre situation when the last of life for which the first was made no longer has any meaning. There is pain-management after a patient is done with in the case of heart attacks, heart diseases, cancer surgeries accompanied by chemotherapy and radiation therapy…bit by bit patients realize that side-effects are not easy to deal with and not cost-effective over time.
There are no 100% cures in mainstream Allopathy hospitals dedicated to saving life in a host of traumatic, emergency, acute situations. I grant you the best of doctors are honourable and live up to the Hippocrates oath of doing no harm first and they do save life, thank-you.
But in the case of senior citizen patients it is oftentimes just chronic degeneration which may be rectified with first class physiotherapy, nutritional changeovers in diet and pain management, somewhat as in hospices where terminal patients are very often relegated to…a lot of times I have noticed that it is home care which is best. Next best would be a hospital of another kind designed exclusively for senior citizen patients.
Unfortunately, when there is no home care available, elderly patients end up in the one and only geriatric department at the GMC – this department seriously needs to see a dynamic expansion into other areas encompassing more patient-friendly alternative therapies which do help…say things like just sitting out in the morning sunshine in a wheelchair for half-an-hour, say a mud-bath, say a gentle massage, say food prepared for their run-down digestive systems, say medicines which will not knock them out and aggravate murder of vital organs. I repeat myself. You get the idea. A hospital for senior citizens in Goa, please.
I ONCE watched a clearly run-down 70-year- old terminal oral cancer patient (my father) in a hospital being made to drink this vile colored water out of a litre Bisleri bottle so that a repeat CT-scan could be done – the patient valiantly drank the water and tolerated the scan, a day later he passed away and when I complained to the doctor that when he knew this was a terminal patient, why torture him in his dying days?
He wrote a sorry letter to me but it seems they have to save life till the very end! Some doctors do have their heads in their arse and we all know why they do what they do at the altar of mammon. Of one think I am convinced if Goa can set the example and give a balanced enlightened Allopathy-cum-AYUSH hospital exclusively for the its growing elderly population…a Goa model of the very progressive kind in ways of thinking, Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane would be remembered forever in the annuls of Goan medical history!
Think about it Vishwajeet bab, I know you have a shining heart for the elderly. A hospital for seniors in Goa would be like a home away from home for both patients and their family, or so I like to imagine — where one may grumble the most but are treated the best. Healthcare is best when it is close to homecare and supervised by geriatric professionals (medical marketing sharks)!

A GRAND GMC AFFAIR

The new cardiac facility at SSB ranks among the best in Goa, competing with top hospitals nationwide. It offers cutting-edge technology and provides free provisions such as stents, medication, coils, pacemakers and much more, absolutely free of charge for Goans. A jubilant Vishwajit Rane said this is the Goa model for Goans and neighbouring states. He expressed his pride at being able witness the progress GMC has achieved thanks to the hard work of dedicated doctors, nurses, and staff. He also expressed heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for revitalizing the SSB project. A little emotional he shared that his own parents have benefited from the Cardiac team’s professional life-saving skills here, but this hospital “doesn’t distinguish between rich and poor, a testament to its inclusivity. The dedication of the doctors, staff, and nurses has rightfully earned Goa’s health model immense credibility today.” The two cutting-edge labs will now reduce waiting period from one month to just 10 days for heart patients. After the formal event was over it was posing for photographs and high tea for all the Cardiac department staff and fellowship with doctors junior and senior.


THERE was so much media crush around THE Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane at the inauguration of the new Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories and Coronary Care Unit at the Super Specialty Block on October 25, 2023. I wished I could have spoken to him! It’s the first time I was at this grand new 8-storeyed super-speciality hospital and it reminded me of one of our private five-star hospitals with a Public Relations desk right up front where you may make enquiries for details and registration…a vast gleaming lobby with lots of seating areas, wheelchairs, pretty neat layout design.
The ground floor has helpdesk and registration, out-patient department, emergency, minor OT room…a lovely YOO Cafeteria with a grandstanding picture windows! Anyway, this is to say it was a most grand inauguration of the new cardiac catheterization laboratories and coronary care unit (named after the late Dr Manjunath Desai) with exquisite floral décor, and after the function a fellowship of group photo sessions, followed along with high tea – the Cardiac fraternity is an estimated 100 staff. The Cardiac team is led by Head of Cardiology Dr Guru Prasad Naik (who tells me he is now dividing his time between USA where his wife and children are and Goa) to take care of your heart in trouble; there is in the team Dr Michelle Viegas, Dr Amar Prabhudesai, Dr Pankaja Vaidya, Dr Joel Quadros, Dr Venkatesh Malali, Dr Aditya Mulgaonkar and some more, some I’m acquainted with enough to say hello to.
Dr Guruprasad tells me that Dr Borkar’s surgery unit hasn’t yet shifted to the new premises but eventually the whole department will; seeing the growing incidence of heart disease the department now has two cardiac catherization laboratories, 20 cardiology ICUs, 65 ward beds and some more with a centralized patient monitoring system in place. The waitlist of patients waiting for heart procedures is over with and they will be able to handle patients faster to save life.
There’s a lovely terrace out here on the third floor of the super-speciality hospital where the labs and coronary care units are…ICU wards, OT, critical care unit, physiotherapy, cath lab, refuge area, pre-operative and post-operative wards, etc. It’s a brightly lit spacious GMC Multi-Speciality Hospital with enough lifts as well as broad stairways.
Must go back to take a closer look at the Yoo Cafeteria run by Sodexo. Maybe even do myself a cardiac check-up as a by-pass patient, it’s a miracle I still live!
ON that note it’s avjo, selamat malam, poite verem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.

—Mme Butterfly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− 5 = 4