Week 2 – Friday Shadowing

Friday was the day of shadowing.  In the morning, we shadowed Dr. Toor, Medical Director of the Rural Medicare Center and a surgeon by training.  What stood out the most for me was how fast he was seeing patients.  One of the girls in the program even said that in the states, if you saw patients that fast, you’d get sued as a doctor.  He said that he has perfected the art of seeing patients quickly because he has so many to see every day, but I left wondering if quantity is better than quality.  I personally would not feel comfortable as a doctor if I only took five minutes to evaluate a patient for surgery.  What if I miss something?

In the afternoon, we sat with a pediatrician who talked a bit about the vaccination program.  Wasn’t very different from ours at all.  He also talked a bit about the differences between government and private medical care in India.  Government health care is free or very cheap in most cases, whereas private centers can be more expensive.  But the quality of care at private clinics is much better because of the lower volume of patients and better equipment/resources.

What was interesting about this pediatrician was his pragmatic approach to why he chose to work in the private sector in Delhi.  He said that India needs qualified doctors to work in rural areas, but he personally didn’t want to because of the cost to his family.  His children would have to settle for less in terms of education and he wouldn’t make as much money.  But he suggested that every doctor should have a compulsory rotation at a rural health post to make sure quality care was available everywhere.  I don’t completely agree with the idea, but it’s an interesting concept.

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