Sundeep Bhutoria

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emotional atyachar!

I spent a few hours at the Max Super Specialty Hospital in Saket, Delhi, last week. This Hospital, considered to be one of the best, has infrastructure and facilities that are good by Indian standards. The Hospital has visiting hours from 11 am to 8 pm for two persons at a time and also allows a person to stay full-time as an attendant to the patient.
When I expressed surprise on such long visiting hours, my friend joked, “They have to ensure sales in cafes and the food courts.” True, there were many cafes and food courts in every bloc and corners and I was also told that by evening much of the wares fly off the shelves.
It struck me that in our country almost all the hospitals seem to have more visitors than patients. In fact, managing the steady stream of visitors is one of the biggest concerns for hospitals these days.
Critical patients admitted in the intensive or critical care units are kept away from visitors for medical reasons and thus the visiting hours are regulated. But in our country rules invariably are meant to be broken.
Visitors go to great length to get strings pulled and exert influence to arm twist the hospital authorities into allowing them to meet the patient at will, flouting the basic health guidelines. We hardly spare a thought that such actions might be detrimental to the patient. One may also end up being carriers of various infections from outside jeopardizing the patient's well being.
There is always a demand from the patients' family members and relatives, whatever their social class, that if they can bring in home food, stay with the patient and so on. I don't understand what can a person do sitting in the hospital lobby whole night when the patient is under 24-hour medical supervision.
Whenever I visit Belle Vue or Woodlands in Kolkata, I see and hear how people use their influence to get extra visiting cards issued. When someone is in hospital, I think many people see it as an opportunity to flash their social connections. Also, how many people come to visit us is a measure of one's social status. I know few of my friends who really mind if you don't visit them in hospital.
I am against this kind of conduct and strongly feel that it is more likely to disturb the patient than comfort him or her. If there is a need, we must be there but just for formality's sake “... accha nahin lagta” … visiting someone is a waste of time. A visitor's presence should always be comforting and encouraging for the patient and not otherwise.
I often see lot of gossip groups in the lobbies of private nursing homes during the visiting hours and others having a great time over tea and snacks during the visiting hours. Invariably, there are more people in the rooms than the rules permit. Many visitors often overstay the visiting hours time limit and have to be coaxed into leaving the patient alone.
Marriages are made in heaven, but some are also made in hospitals. In one classic case that I know of, two Marwari families, who met by the bedside of their patients, became friends. They used the hospital lobby to introduce two young members of their respective families for matchmaking and eventually formalized their marriage.
It is very irritating for any relative of the patient to answer the same question on mobile phone the whole day or to every visitor. Then there is also the free advice and anecdotal stories of health and healing that the patient has to endure.
I feel visitors must comply with the hospital rules and develop good bed-side manners and spare the patient of emotional atyachar.
ess bee

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