Because I was unfortunate enough to see doctors from a patient’s perspective this summer when multiple kidney stones arrived from nowhere and knocked me down. That was a pretty bad experience, somatically speaking… But nevertheless made me realize why most patients are whining against doctors all the time.
It was 3AM, midnight. I rushed to Jinnah hospital in a rickshaw while vomiting with pain all the way. The pain was so severe that walking from the reception to the medical emergency literally took 10 minutes. There I was welcomed by an unfriendly group of house officers gossiping and laughing in the comfort of their private room. One of them said to the other, “He’s an abuser, probably here just for opiates” and told me to go away after handing over a few tablets of paracetamol. Imagine that!! I was shattered!! A person so exhausted with pain and for having to travel 25km in that pain looked like a drug abuser to them? Holy Shit !! How could they even say that? I left immediately.
My next destination was the surgical emergency ward. I feared a surgical emergency and I badly expected the docs there to at least examine me. But the dumb asses were too busy to even take a brief medical interview. In the surgical ward, the doctors again told me to take paracetamol. I asked a doc how I could take paracetamol if I was vomiting with pain every few minutes. She was pissed off at me trying to challenge her as a patient, a layman, but I was right. So she gave me a vial, probably of Diclofenac, and asked me to find a nurse and get that injected. I tried to find one while limping around the whole ward but surprisingly found none. I asked the doc to administer the drug herself but she replied coldly that only paramedics did that. In rage… I smashed the vial, tore her prescription into pieces and threw those in front of her and walked out without seeing her reaction.
It was getting obvious that I could manage myself far better than those negligent professionals. I walked to a nearby medical store and got myself a good analgesic, an anti-emetic and a big bottle of water. I took those but to no avail. By the time I was back in the hospital lawn… I was literally rolling over the grass with pain. I was longing for a remedy. I was longing for someone who cared. My parents were thousands of miles away, oblivious of my condition. My cousins were too selfish to accompany me. My elder brother (Medical Registrar in the same hospital) was enjoying his dreams in a nearby flat and wasn’t responding to my phone calls.
Money buys care and I had enough of it. I was only late to realize that. I asked a rickshaw wala to take me to the best private hospital around. He took me to a well reputed private hospital. As soon as I reached the hospital gate… paramedical staff rushed towards me and helped me walk into the emergency ward. I was instantly taken to a bed and a well-mannered doctor came to me immediately and took a detailed medical interview and examined me comprehensively. He immediately cannulated me and administered one the most powerful analgesics that exist, administered some sedatives and did some fluid resuscitation. A nurse came to me just to reassure me and see if I was any better. In no time I was asleep oblivious of everything in and around myself. Money had done the magic.
From that day onward, I have sworn not to go to a public hospital at any cost. I had many subsequent attacks of renal colic and every time I had those, I went to private hospitals. Today I stand by my patients whenever they criticize the doctors or say that they are being ignored by them. All this surprises most people. But then, they haven’t been “there”.