Part 2 – When Healthcare comes without concern for health

Butterfly Effect – the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. 

In a nutshell, a small change can lead to large-scale and unpredictable variation later. And it is extremely difficult to identify the tiny source when the big disruption takes place in the chaotic world.

As I sit to write the second part of my experience during the recent hospital stay, this phenomenon comes to mind.

In the first part, I discussed how healthcare institutions have started to ignore the ‘care’ part of the word. Here I plan to question if they are even concerned about the first part of the composite term? Are they really concerned about health?

Even during the pre-COVID days, if we ever visited a hospital, it was common to find big bottles with nozzle pumps, either at the entry of the cabin or attached by a holder to the bed. Most called it the handrub, as the term ‘sanitiser’ gained popularity only during the COVID-induced pandemic.

During my visit, I found that those bottles had just vanished!!!

They said that they always santised their hands at the nursing station. But is that reassuring enough when they give you medicine (tablets taken out of the blister pack) by hand?

In many rooms where I had to go for diagnostic tests, I was asked to keep my slippers outside. Fair practice. I even learnt a fact of life there, for free. Germs can somehow figure out the shoes that are worn by healthcare professionals and stay away from their soles. None of them opened their footwear before entering! (BTW, I had a similar experience in another hospital as well, so my hypothesis has multiple evidences.)

This might be the place to mention something interesting. When I was taken to get the echocardiogram done, I saw the anti-gender-determination-of-foetus disclaimer fixed on the wall. I was confused how a heart diagnostic test could help determine the gender, but learnt that all radiological equipment need to make the declaration. I was indeed impressed by the regulatory norms!

Joy, as always, was short-lived, when the USG machine room did not have the board. When they said that it was taken off for some cleaning work, I assumed that it will be back in no time. My naivety got exposed when on a repeat visit the next day there was still no board put up in the room.

Compliance without spirit may be another cancer we need to address in the system. Surely the board will be in place when any inspector visits with prior notice, but enquiries by a patient does not instill the urgency of putting it back in place.

A few might argue that the points listed here are trivial, and I would agree to each of them in isolation.

But then I think about the ‘Butterfly Effect’…

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