A Ticking Timebomb

My grandfather turns 88 this October. He is a healthy man with no life-style acquired illnesses.He  doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, exercises every day. He wakes up at 5.00 am and still goes to work 9-5, every day of this life. He is a public notary-a motivated, loyal and conscientious Gandhian.

Last month, he noticed a swelling in his inguinal area (right groin). He knew it was a hernia, he had seen it before. He didn't pay much notice to it and went about his daily routine. One day it started to hurt and was swollen and inflamed (red). He was alarmed. He called my dad. My father is a GP in Malad and has seen several hernias in his practice of 34 years. He immediately informed my grandfather of the potential harm it could cause and asked to get strict bed rest and not eat or drink anything and take pain medications. In a panic, he called a local "nursing home" asking if the general surgeon there would be able to operate on a hernia. The nursing home, had to beds. My father continued his search.

My grandfather being stoic and having lived a fairly difficult life, decided to continue his daily chores " It's alright...all is well" he said. He ate his breakfast and drank some tea and went to work. Few hours later, he started to experience intense abdominal pain and swelling. He then started to feel nauseas, diaphoretic (sweaty). His co-workers put him in a rickshaw and brought him home. At home, he had a fever and was retching and vomiting incessantly .My grandmother, who is 80, started to cry and called my dad.

My 60 year old dad quit everything and ran home. From 1.00 pm in the afternoon until late in the evening, he had called 5 major local hospitals for beds. There weren't any. While my grand father was throwing up, dehydrated, in pain and potentially living with an abdominal catastrophe, my father was struggling finding him a local hospital bed. This in a city the boasts of the best medical care in the country.

Finally, he found one open surgical bed in a BSES hospital and admitted my grand father. My 88 year old grand father has an acutely strangulated inguinal hernia with small bowel obstruction. He didn't need to wait for 10 hrs before his abdominal surgical emergency was operated upon.

I am a cardiologist in the U.S. I have seen and lived the way EMS here responds to patients in need. Time is priority and a human life is precious and treated with utmost importance. I sincerely believe that along with the development of a hospital run EMS which should be 911 activated, there is a serious need to hospitals to enter data into a system where it is available for the general public to access.

Hospitals need to have a live update system which keeps track of their hospital beds, ER beds, Catheterization lab status, OR status and blood bank status. This is the need of the hour.

Anything else is substandard and unacceptable.


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