Struck gold, clear as water… Part I

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So Monday started the week that we were to spend at Civil Hospital and BJ Medical College. Civil Hospital is the single largest government/public hospital in the state of Gujarat. It’s difficult for me to impress upon you in words the gigantic scale on which this hospital functions. That doesn’t mean it’s properly efficient but the sheer scale and magnitude at which this place runs is unfathomable. Consider that the population of Gujarat is 50.6 million (as of 2001), and if a local health clinic can’t solve a problem or a patient needs some complex surgery, they ALL come to Ahmedabad to Civil Hospital… !

There are several hospitals on campus where Civil Hospital is situated. It’s a kind of massive medical complex near the older part of the city. There are independant kidney, cardiac, eye, and cancer hospitals as well. They get varying amounts of government money, but not as much as Civil Hospital. Their quality, caliber, and expertise varies based on how and by whom they are managed.

As often happens in India, plans don’t really go as planned. But the other side of that coin is that you are free to pursue any opportunity that comes your way any time, any where, as long as you know how and where to find and take the opportunity. This is difficult for us Americans because we expect things to be organized, thought out and pre arranged. So we waste time being mad that our plans didn’t work instead of rolling with it. But I can only say this after crying over my ruined plans many times before. The point of this is that I got to Civil Hospital and no one I was supposed to meet was there. So dad and I went to visit the kidney hospital. Dr. Joshi told us a lot about the physician who was running it. And we had a lot of donated vascular sutures which they might use for transplant surgery. So we decided to pay a visit to Dr. HL Trivedi.

It took a while to get in to see the “big boss” but we did and he offered to take us with him on rounds of the hospital. This doctor was trained at Cleveland Clinic in the 60’s and then practiced in Canada for a while before returning to Ahmedabad to start this kidney hospital from scratch. He started in 1992 (?) and built the hospital facilities, training program, and patient care program based on western standards. So the hospital, unlike some others, is just like any big medical center we might imagine in the USA, with same physical structures, protocols, etc. After doing this they’ve, which is like a miracle, they’ve gone leaps further in their patient care. They do more number and complexity of renal transplants than any other kidney program in the world. They are using and pioneering new surgical techniques which we don’t see in USA. AND they are pioneering post-transplant therapies for patients, like selective immunosupression and others. All in all they are a frequently published bunch of doctors with magic hands. =)

Each day Dr. Trivedi goes on rounds with the medical staff and visits every patient admitted to his hospital. It was about 100 patients and took about 2 hours. He makes sure everyone is doing ok, and for people with complications helps decide what should be done next.

…. I gotta sleep now. More on actually watching surgeries in Part II… =)

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