Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ultrasound Misfortune

Today two of our medical volunteers went to the ultrasound clinic in Delhi NCR. The clinic was fairly empty today, and the volunteers only saw a few cases that were interesting. Most of the patients who came had complaints of stomach pains, and a few kidney stones and swollen nodes in the patients' bowels were observed. One patient, though, had a very unfortunate diagnosis.The doctor explained to the volunteers that this pregnant patient had come to the clinic a few weeks earlier because the embryo was having difficulties. The doctor explained to the patient that she must be extremely careful, but based on the ultrasound machine's output, the doctor believed it would just be a matter of time before a miscarriage occurs. Overhearing this, the patient saw another doctor, who prescribed a medicine, which this other doctor claimed, would heal the embryo and she would be able to give birth to a healthy child. So, the patient had been taking the treatment for a few weeks, and now she was back at the ultrasound clinic for a checkup. Right away, when the doctor used the machine, she noticed the fetus was not moving at all, and there was no heart beat. The doctor said that the child had passed away, and the patient wanted to double check, with more testing. The male volunteer waited outside while the female volunteer stayed inside with the doctor (a female), and the patient. The doctor used the ultrasound probe, and after examining the patient again, the diagnosis remained the same: the child had passed away. It was very difficult for the patient and the volunteers, but after the patient left, the doctor explained that these things have happened before in her office. She gives her diagnosis, and the patients want to go to another doctor in India who will say what they want to hear (basically quack doctors). Then, the patients pay the quack doctor for frequent checkups, even though there is no reason to do so. It is very sad to see these cases, but this reminds us that there is a much bigger issue at hand here as well, and we want to find ways to reach out and stop the corruption that many people practice.

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