With the end of casualty rotation, my short but extremely memorable stint at OGH is now over. It has been a long way from wondering whether the hospital even functions to actually finding it’s working commendable. Keeping all its shortcomings aside like shortage of staff, medicines, equipment, not so hygienic conditions, a few of the corrupt/unfriendly personnel, the truth remains that it is also a place of great solace for a very large number of people – people who have nowhere else to go, those who were rejected by every other hospital, people who have been everywhere else but haven’t found relief, people who have been beaten up, robbed and neither have a single penny nor a single person to look after them. These patients come here and they are accepted, treated, and a majority of them leave feeling much better. There have been times when a patient stumbles from one room to another, embarrasses himself in front of the other staff, only to find you and say thank you. Be it a refugee from Burma, who can’t speak any language we know, or a union leader with political contacts, people of all faiths, speaking any language, belonging to any region are given the same level of treatment. It gives a weird sense of pride when you see it written “Refer to Higher Centre”, and realising that you are the higher centre being referred to, and that there is no centre higher than this. Not just patients, so many students come here, from varied backgrounds, most of them hardly knowing anything about practical patient care and leave as different people, fully trained and confident, ready to face the world. The doctors here may have a lot of stress due to the workload, a lot of frustration with the system, but behind all that there definitely is a sense of service & compassion. This place may just be an old government hospital but the things that happen here are not ordinary. It is a temple of learning and a temple of care-giving that we are blessed to have worked in. The institution is highly flawed, far from perfect it can only be described as what is an apt caption for this picture –
Broken, but beautiful.
(Inside view of the central dome of Osmania General Hospital, Afzalgunj, Hyderabad)