Today I had the misfortune of visiting a Government run hospital.  Hospitals are sad places anyways, but when they are unclean, stinking & filled with people indifferent to other humans they become sheer hell. And that is precisely what this place was.

The first thing which struck me as soon as I entered was the smell. It was this dirty mix of medicines, disinfectants & just plain illness. A blocked nose may come in handy at such a place. The smell was so overpowering that when I returned home the smell had stuck to my clothes.

After the smell comes the general appearance. The place was littered with bloodied cotton swabs. At random places I found packets containing something or the other (mostly used medical bottles would be my guess), the paint on the walls was peeling, what paint was left had turned a dirty yellow & the walls clearly showed signs of leakage. There were dogs in the compound running about nicely on the dirty grounds which had not even been leveled. An ambulance travelling on these grounds would surely kill the patient inside.

Every Government institution has a class of workers called the peons. They are basically the people whom you are supposed to feed money so that you can get your work done quickly. They will stand firmly between you & your final destination (the man whom you are there to meet in the first place, here it was a doctor) & won’t budge till you either beg or stuff their extra large mouths/ pockets with money. They are an extremely shameless class of people who will resort to insulting you if you refuse to pay them. It is people like these which give Government institutions a bad name. Because once you are past these hurdles the employees higher up the work ladder can be pretty decent. I met a total of six doctors today & all of them were well – educated, decent beings.

The tests that were carried out at the hospital amazed me no end. Giving a urine sample feels awkward even in the best of situations, but when you are forced to give it in a Government hospital when you know you are perfectly fit & fine the torture is worse than ever. I gave my urine sample in the most unhygienic of conditions which the doctor collected without even bothering to label the bottle. My blood sample too was tested on a slide which already had two other blood samples on it. I mentally thanked every God that he at least did not use a used needle! On the table were tens of other such blood stained slides. I couldn’t help but wonder how the doctor would determine my medical fitness with such testing. But it is best to keep your doubts & questions to yourself when you are in such institutes.

I feel extremely sorry for anyone who has to depend on such places for medical aid because they are in no fit state to deliver anything of quality. Death would be kinder than being admitted in a place like the one to which I had been today. With patients lying on the floors while the carefree staff trots about discussing their own issues completely indifferent to anyone’s plight you cannot help but return greatly disturbed from.