Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Post Surgery Recap Part Three

On Wednesday when I went to the doctor to get the second IV done, hubby dropped me off. I knew I would be there a while and he's hyper most of the time and can't sit still for that long. I consulted with the doctor and then they took my blood work to  check on me first and then started the IV. What I found interesting when I first got there is that the doctor was counseling patients individually in his office with the door closed. That was nice and I patiently waited my turn. I found out later why, and I'll get to that.

The IV drip took 90 minutes and I listened to my iPod after the nurses went off to do their work. I did have a conversation with one of them that got me thinking about some things while she was getting me ready and inserting the needle. I'll write all that later too because it doesn't fit here. I was texting with one hand while I lay there as well and that's no easy feat on a touch screen.

Then when it was all over I went to sit outside for a little while (it was so cold but I didn't realize that at first). As I sat there I noticed for a second time that there was medical waste in the flower bed. Having time to kill while I waited for hubby to pick me up I walked around and realized that was their dumping ground for all the used needles. I took some pictures for you guys to see how crazy this is. Sorry, I took them with the BlackBerry because hubby had my good camera at the time.

 In this photo you can see vials (which are glass and you break them to open them), used needles with and without caps.
 More needles and glass vials.
 More needles, caps and various trash.
 A close up on 2 needles stuck in the ground. This wasn't simply dumped or dropped, it's clear someone took the time to stick them in the ground that way. There were tons just like this all around the flower garden.
 This is the edge of the flower garden. the wooden post on the right holds up a cooling unit and those are trash cans on the back. Doesn't look like anyone cared that the gloves, urine samples and more fell on the ground. This flower garden is at the front of the clinic and many patients sit in the grassy area in the middle of the garden during each day.

When I sat back down I realized why the doctor was on his best professional behavior that morning. There was a couple from the UK who came in for the same service as me and a couple from Canada there for similar services. So he was behaving because of all the international clients he had today. What a scandalous fake. I wonder if he can keep up appearances and continue not to look like a shitty Amritsar clinic for the several months it will take to complete their treatments? I somehow doubt it.

I spoke with both couples and it turned out to be quite an interesting day. It's weird but I also noticed westerners talk to me more when hubby isn't around. This was genuine friendly conversation that any westerner would engage in. Where are you from? How long have you been here? Oh, you married a Punjabi! That kind of stuff. It was nice and this is one of the things I missed about being in the US but hadn't realized. And on a totally unrelated note, you can definitely tell the difference between NRI's and resident Indians at first glance.

Oh, and according to my research the Indian government has rules and needles are supposed to be "shredded" after being sterilized and then they can be disposed of. There doesn't seem to be any mention of how they can be disposed of.

Here's some references for disposal of medical waste in India:
Bio Medical Waste(Management & Handling) Rules, 1998
Frequently asked Questions Biomedical Waste Management


  1. Yep, dirty needles & biohazardous waste (urine, blood, fecal samples) tossed out the window, or randomly thrown on the ground are common place in India. Children playing nearby-doesn't matter. i'm glad you took pictures to document this unhygienic practice.

    There is a 'proper' way to 'disable' a syringe if you don't have access to a 'sharps' or biohazardous waste container. I've never seen it done in India. It certainly doesn't include throwing the used syringe into the flower bed.

    I'm still wondering in what medical or nursing school on what planet (in these days of AIDS & hepatitis A through Z)  disposing of infectious waste in this highly dangerous way is taught?

    In clinics I've attended all over India this 'lack of hygiene' has been a topic of great contention, I have to say I've even thrown a few screaming tantrums but alas to no avail.
    Anyone with ANY medical knowledge should know the dangers of this 'lack of hygiene'.

    There is NO excuse for this, I'm sorry to say this- but no wonder people think Indians are 'dirty'.

  2. I didn't get a picture but I did personally see their shredder. It's right in plain view in the lab and I've seen needles piled next to it waiting to be destroyed. I doubt they are using it though and maybe it's just their for show. Now that I have my cameras handy (I bought a spare in case Rohit needs one) I will be taking a lot more pictures to expose the things people say don't happen here. I truly feel like if no one ever says anything this won't ever change. I'm not saying I'm a one woman army, but with pictures people can only argue so much.

  3. 'I will be taking a lot more pictures to expose the things people say
    don't happen here. I truly feel like if no one ever says anything this
    won't ever change.'

    You go girl!
    I've heard Indians denying that stuff like this 'doesn't happen', or that it only happens in Gov't hospitals. Well YES IT DOES, frequently all over INDIA!
    Is this India's 'world class healthcare' we hear so much about?
    I think not.
    Even if they have a shredder & even if they are using it properly- Someone has to pick up those dirty needles & waste - another possible needle stick.
    What if a child wandering by picks up one of those dirty needles & sticks himself accidently?
    What if some passerby steps/sits on one of  those used needles?

  4. Hi Kristy, I'm so pleased that you took those photo's, because unless these type of practices are exposed nothing will ever be done about them, nor will people believe that these things ever happen.
    My greatest concern is children playing close by and standing on one of these needles or putting something in their mouth.

  5. Thank you. I hear that same denial you do and it only motivates me more to prove it. I wish I could say this was a government hospital but it isn't. it's far from it. This doctor networks with doctors from around India as well and one of the doctors that was attending for my surgery had came in from Pune (and you could see a huge difference in his quality of character)

    Those needles are dangerous and one of the nurses brings her child to work sometimes and most of the people I saw on all my visits were there with family members, many times there were children included. It's scary!

  6. Oh, and besides the needles, those glass vials are the thin glass that is almost impossible to get out. The kind that is known to work its way into your bloodstream and has killed people. Imagine a child stepping on that and his mother not knowing what it was and not being able to see anything or dig it out. That's true horror!

  7. OMG, I hadn't even thought about the mouth thing! You're right. So many toddlers can't wait to get something new in their mouth and with these needles being pretty shades of purple and blue they are more attractive. What a nightmare!

  8. Geez, & it is not just needles- there's a used examination glove in that last pic, & a specimen cup too.

  9. Ewww this is disgusting, and what if someone steps on a needle inthe garden?

    In Bangalore I used to go in an Apollo clinic for all tests and samples, after each patient they put the needle in a shredder/burner thingy, and put all the other things such as cotton and vials in a clearly marked bio hazard bag, they have posters in the lab for the staff to remember to throw things in what bag too. I haven't seen any medical waste lying around hospitals in Bangalore either. The clinic you go to is reall disgusting.

  10. That looks horrible. My first reaction was indeed to think "it cannot be possible, was it a government hospital?" (not that that is excusable). My parents have a clinic and I know how careful they are with the medical waste. They have one of those needle destroyers that makes a horrible grinding sparking noise. Each needle goes directly into it after an injection, and they are not kept around for later. If it is at all possible, stop going to that place. You will be putting yourself in danger and end up being more sick. You should report them and also send the story into a paper.

  11. Oh yeah, it's a lot of mess. Those are only a few of the pictures I took.

  12. See! This is why I always fuss that Amritsar is so much worse than many of the cities in India. There really is no excuse but the citizens here don't seem to fight against any of this. They let doctors treat them like crap and they never question. Or at least too many people do that. This kind of thing goes on because the residents here don't stand up for themselves enough.

  13. Oh how I wish I could blame this on a government establishment. I also wish the procedure was offered anywhere else nearby. Thankfully I don't have to go back ever again now. I do intend (and have started pitching it) to several American newspapers as a medical tourism nightmare story. If I report them, who do I need to report them to? I wasn't aware that was an option?

  14. Frankly I am not surprised. When I was studying social work in Chennai in 2000, we had to educate the slum dwellers not to reuse needles found on the roadsides. I would stand at bus stops in frequented areas and needles would be near to my feet. That's why I am not surprised this is not changed in other parts of India.

    On a few other points- yes isn't it interesting how 'Westerners' ignore 'us' when we are with our Indian husbands? They don't quite 'accept' or 'acknowledge us' the same way as if we are alone. Strange!!!

    And, surely about the resident Indian and NRIs. For instance in Kochi, I saw a teen girl walking with jeans and t-shirt, that's not the kicker, cause that's kinda normal, but she had a hoodie tied around her waist. I commented to my husband "Who does that here?"

  15. That's really scary about the used needles.

    I'm cracking up over the hoodie around the girls waist. Remember high school when that was the thing to do so you didn't have to carry your jacket around. And remember when it was actually cool to do it. Oh man, that was too funny. Of course you still see it occasionally in movies where some snooty tennis buff ties their tennis sweater around their waste as well. I hadn't seen that here though. I guess it's working it's way to India.

  16. I don't know how useful it will be, but you can try making a complaint to the state or central Medical Council, or in a consumer court (could be more trouble than worth it). You could also rate you doctor. http://www.ratemds.com/SelectState.jsp