Stories about hospital

“Mera jism, khandaan ki marzi”

It was a particularly tiring emergency day in the obstetric labour room. I was writing down patient notes on a file when a woman came pleading to me, “Doctor sahibaa, mehrbani karain, mainay jo sign kiyay hain wo kaat dain, hum nay waqfay ka chalaa nae rikhwana.” (Please doctor, nullify the signatures I just did on the file, we refuse to take intrauterine device for contraception.) IUCD (commonly known as Cu-T) is a small contraception device placed in a woman’s uterus to delay the next pregnancy and ensure better health opportunities for both the mother and the child. When I tried to ...

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The reality of public hospitals: I lost my nana to medical negligence in Pakistan’s dirtiest hospital

On March 18th at 11pm, my nana (maternal grandfather) developed an acute shortness of breath, and was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) at the People’s Medical College and Hospital in Nawabshah. Arriving at the hospital, the first thing I noticed was that there was no wheelchair available to take a critical patient inside the ward. Being a fourth year medical student aware of the poor hospital conditions in my city, I took my own blood pressure apparatus and oximeter with me, and immediately checked his vitals; something the doctor, who had not yet arrived, had not done. ...

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Dear Yoda, would dad approve of my decision to sign his code status as ‘Do Not Resuscitate’?

Dear Yoda, As you know, dad had a massive stroke a few months ago. The stroke was like Hurricane Harvey in several respects – it occurred around the same time as Harvey, and like the hurricane, was of unexpected intensity and left devastation in its wake. Those who read (perhaps enjoy) my rambling (writing), including you, might recall the piece I wrote about dad and his health issues, dementia per se, last year. I received flak for writing about dad – in fact, one person came very close to calling it a sacrilegious act of airing one’s dirty laundry. Then there were others, like most ...

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The media is relentless in its pursuit of exclusives, and Kashmir is always a good harvest

(Disclaimer: Graphic images below) Me: “So why don’t you start studying again?” Baba: “No, I can’t…” Me: “But why?” Baba: “It’s of no use; I have eight FIRs against me madam. The first one was registered when I was on my way to school. They picked me up, slapped me, let me off after three days. The second FIR was for illegal possession of weapons and the third…” Baba went on explaining the list of police cases against him as the car criss-crossed Srinagar with blaring music. Me: “Even then, you should at least complete your studies? Things will change…” Baba: “Even if I am able to resume my second year in ...

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I did this to my wife for eight years and today I am filled with regret

We had a baby! A little baby boy who finally arrived in our lives after nine long months of waiting. I was still exhilarated with the way his little hand had wrapped around my finger. But the joy was short lived. As we waited to get back home after the delivery, we were jolted with unknown complications my wife had developed; a blood disorder that threatened to take her life away. I had the baby in one hand and my other hand outstretched holding my wife’s. I was dumbfounded and wrecked as she was wheeled away for scans and tests. My happiness and ...

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Força Chapecoense!

The Brazilian plane crash in Colombia yesterday has virtually left many in shock and tears. A sports fanatic myself, the news was terribly heart wrenching, considering an entire football team simply stopped existing, in a flash. The ill fated chartered carrier had 81 people on board, which included twenty two members of a Brazilian football club, Chapecoense Real. The team was supposed to play against the Medellin team Atlético Nacional in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the South American counterpart of Europe’s Europa League. The latest reports suggest that only six passengers survived the crash, including ...

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Capitalism, the disease that breeds social injustice

A while back, a story went viral on the internet about a young girl, who worked as a house maid. Long story cut short, she asked her employer for an advance because her mother was extremely ill, but her employer refused. A few hours later, the very same employer showed the house maid the brand new lipstick she had just bought – a MAC product worth more than her salary. The house maid was naturally furious and disappointed: What happened then? Did the house maid’s mother survive? I doubt it. She didn’t have enough money for the treatment and her employer had refused to give her ...

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The bench

My crutches sank deep into the muddy grass, the result of a downpour last night. Without tumbling face first into the mud, I yanked them out— it must have rained until morning because the puddles in the garden could still be seen as the day’s sun was about to set. I managed to make my way to the rocky path. The ashen coloured trail of pebbles led me to a bench overlooking a mesmerising pond. I trotted along the trail down to the bench and sat there with a great sigh. I pulled the magazine out from under my arm and set ...

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Why was my mamoo killed?

The gunshot outside was deafening. The woman inside the house continued talking on the phone, thinking it was just one of those routine firing shots that are a norm in her area of residence. Moments later, there was a loud, insistent pounding on the door, accompanied with hysterical screams. Startled, the woman hung up and rushed outside in a panic. All she saw was red, a pool of red. She squinted, trying to see past the flood of human bodies. That is when she saw her husband, motionless, lying in the pool of red. It took her seconds to comprehend. ...

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Doctors in Pakistan: Sumbal, only the peptic ulcer wali bibi, not a person with feelings

Her doctor thought she was an open mouth for him to dunk pills into. Instead, she turned out to be a person with thoughts, feelings and questions that were all left unaddressed. As part of Pakistan’s tightly-knit community of doctors, it is common for us to share our horror stories about non-compliant, abusive patients with laughable misconceptions about drugs and bodily functions. We softly giggle at them mistaking left-sided abdominal pains for appendicitis, when the appendix is in fact on the right side. And the unspoken conclusion drawn each time is that a patient is too uninformed to be trusted with his own ...

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