AIIMS largely attends to the rich & powerful… the poor are left to sleep on pavements, awaiting their turn

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If a family member needed reliable medical attention, I would take him to a private hospital, like Fortis and Max Healthcare. I won’t take him to a Government hospital, and I am not too proud about it. Government hospitals should ideally be the face of India’s growing influence in the medical sphere. It should be equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and the best doctors in the field. It should reflect high levels of hygiene and cleanliness. It should also be sensitive to people who do not have influence to get medical attention, a case AIIMS is infamous for.

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In fact, AIIMS is the only Government hospital in the country which is equipped with modern facilities and great medical minds, but regrettably, they cater only to rich and famous, at least they are given priority. A poor man with an ailing child, in dire need of medical attention, has little hope at AIIMS. He will be caught in the web of hospital bureaucray, losing critical time. There is still no guarantee that he will actually end up seeing a doctor.

Under such circumstances, how can private players like Apollo, Max Healthcare, and Fortis be blamed for charging more money than their Government counterparts? At least, a patient is not left to sleep on pavements, waiting for his turn to come. He receives attention as promptly as a rich person would.

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Government hospital employees are simply names on paper, they are virtually absent all the time. Some simply draw salaries without coming to work regularly. I remember, one of my uncles injured his leg while riding a motorbike and we had no other option except taking him to AIMS, as it was also nearby. After we reached there, we lost a couple of hours just trying to reach the right person. The system is so complex and riddled with loopholes that a suffering person has little hope to survive. We had to plead, beg the doctor to attend to the patient and we were lucky that he melted and took charge. I have friends who tell me horror stories about the nonchalance with which the doctors treat poor patients. Their services are reserved for the Haves. The utter callousness took yet another turn when I was refused an extra bed in the room, as I was going to stay with the patient. In the end, I slept on the floor, on just a single sheet.

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The unhygienic condition of the canteen put us off and I lost all my appetite. I went out to eat.

AIIMS is blessed with world-class doctors, but it is the inability of the common man to take advantage of such facilities, which forces him to reach out to privates doctors in private hospitals. It’s expensive, but life is more important. . Even though there are many government hospitals, which are providing health services to the populace of the region, the services rendered is inadequate in terms of quality and quantity.

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Allowing private hospitals the privilege to exploit ordinary Indians is a matter the Government must consider re-looking at. State hospitals badly need good Infrastructure, professional management, dedicated staff, and improved attitude of the employees. We need to improve the sanitation level and basic infrastructure, like raising the number of beds, we must dedicate qualified doctors to take care of the section which deals with patients of less means. Medicines are not sufficient enough, staff is underpaid and overworked. Basic facilities like the toilets need to be maintained.

Unless this happens, private hospitals will continue to benefit from the millions of suffering Indians. So there is a question of morality as well to consider.

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