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Uncomfortable hospital experience – Behind closed doors

My mom recently got operated for a fracture in her right shoulder. Sure enough, it is a very painful experience whether it is a 7 year old or 73 years old as my mother. Osteoporosis is a medical jargon which is getting popular these days with the old people and the Doctors. Sometimes I ponder whether the term is too generic to be used as a cover for the accidents which happens with the old people (Doctors not to take offense).

Well, the inevitable had to happen on that fateful day (10th August 2010) when she had to brace herself for the worst experience in her life time. I decided to write this blog to reflect the feelings of an old patient who had a traumatic experience, not in the operating bed but during the pre and post operative procedures. I could be pretty naïve in my intention to share this with you, but believe me that I felt the same as a witness to what my mother went through.

One of the most uncomfortable feelings a old person would have is that she or he should not become a burden to their family members be it a son or daughter. Proud feeling thrives when they are independent and a feeling of guilt eats it all when they become dependent on someone. The following experience is not meant to serve as a deterrent to patients waiting to get operated but it is a longing in me to find some truth and justification to some unanswered questions.

As a pre-operative procedure, she was given some mild sedative and other medications. All sorts of food were stopped atleast 6 hours before operation. When the actual moment came she was asked to wear a light green color SUIT before she could sit on the wheel chair. The dress was so light not only in color but in weight as well. Perhaps the reason being that there were no buttons and other safety features to protect the body from being exposed. Humiliation started right from that moment onwards because the dress was not decent enough for either a young lady or an old lady or even for the opposite sex. She buried her head in shame and despair especially when a male ward boy was asked to take her to the operation theatre.

As per her narration, she was asked to get of the wheel chair and temporarily sit in a zone labeled STERILE. What I could not understand is that those wearing those green color coded uniform move frequently in and out of the theatre and therefore it fails to justify me whether they would be sterile in anyway. It seems she felt so awkward to displace herself from the wheel chair in front of so many Doctors both male and female. To put it bluntly she was half naked it seems. When she tried to pray the god for everything to go well, there comes the mind in an instinct it seems to instruct her to cover herself properly and not to get exposed. With the assistance of two people she was made to lie under the powerful operating lights. She told me that at that stage she failed to assign priority to her thoughts whether she has to worry about the operation or her personal safety.

With myself and my sister anxiously waiting outside the theatre she was pulled out in a stretcher with bare minimum consciousness. She could hardly see us. Anesthetist gave a nod that everything went well. She was bought back to her room and another odd procedure was in the queue. We were all asked to get out of the room and she was being transported from the stretcher to her bed. I was told that four of them would lift with the bed sheet and sought of drop her in the bed. Now this is all done by male assistant. Thank god she did not have much consciousness to realize this.

My question is very simple. With so many sexual abuses being reported in all the media in various fields of work including the medical field, what control is in place in the hospitals to govern these kind of incidents which are the norm of the day? Can’t there be a better way to handle the patients and can the dresses be more dignified? Does the hospitals have any control over these incidents and how secured the patients can be in this atmosphere? Should the hospitals wait for an incident to happen and brought to the limelight before it revises or revisits it policies or can the medical fraternity come up with a more comfortable and governed procedure?

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