Woman and her husband in the Intensive Care Unit.

Hospital visit

Indian hospitals are run according to a different set of standards than American hospitals

I was fortunate enough to visit the Hindu Mission Hospital today. What an eye-opener. I was by no means expecting the Mayo Clinic, but I was certainly not prepared for what I encountered either. This particular hospital caters to the poorer population and even makes regular trips out to the rural villages that cannot make the trip to the city.

What I was most taken back by was the total lack of privacy. For starters, none of the rooms had doors. There were half-naked people undergoing treatment for all to see. We were escorted into a patient consult with a doctor, totally interupting their meeting. The doctor freely pulled the patient's x-rays out of the patient's hands and showed them to us! I could not believe that it was not out of the ordinary to discuss a man's medical conditions with us, especially without the patient's consent. Coming from the U.S. and its constant concern with privacy, this all seemed completely backwards.

They even took us into the Intensive Care Unit. Unbelievable. As far as sanitation goes, I found it frightening. The halls were poorly lit and everything seemed dusty and damp. Much of the technological equipment looked ancient in comparison to American standards. I caught myself holding my breath, trying not to catch anything.

It was fascinating to learn that because of the extreme religious diversity in India, it is crucial that doctors understand the different implications of the many religions. Certain prescriptions are not allowed by some reilgions.

It was incredibly generous of the hospital staff to take time out of their obviously busy schedule and show us around. Again, I am totally overwhelmed by India. What amazed me the most however, was the fact that this hospital is run completely on donations. That is near impossible elsewhere!


Barbara Koehl

University of St. Thomas

St. Paul, MN 55105

Links checked Dec. 12, 2009

Copyright © 2009 Barbara Koehl