Village Residents Grab Chance For The Healing Touch
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09 October 2010
By Abantika Ghosh
Facing delays and exorbitant costs in their countries, many Games participants and officials are turning up at polyclinic for treatment of chronic illnesses & tests
The city it seems, has a new medical tourism hub. It’s called the Commonwealth Games Village. Ballpark estimates available with the Delhi government suggest that some 75% of the 2,000–odd patients treated in the last week had actually come for chronic illnesses. Many of the team officials and athletes from the smaller Commonwealth nations specially, queued up for radio diagnostic tests on the plea that the waiting list in their own nations was too long. The doctors at the clinic are playing good host to the hilt and as per request handing over the test plates in the form of CDs to all those who are asking for it.
"In radiology, 75% of the patients so far have come in with chronic conditions. Some of them are candid in their admission that there is often up to a six month waiting list for a test like MRI in their own country, whereas here, once we have referred them to G B Pant Hospital, it takes just about half a day," explained an official. But he is quick to add that as most of these complaints are related to sports injuries, it is possible that some of them may have been exacerbated in the immediate stress of the event or performance anxiety.
Confirming the trend, health minister Kiran Walia said: "The doctors have done an excellent job. India is known in the international arena for its healthcare and this is an acknowledgement of the brilliant facilities that we have out together in the polyclinic."
Some of the other departments which have got flooded with chronic patients include ophthalmology (65%), dermatology (40%) and dental (60%). In the last, there are requests for even scaling. The medicine department had some people coming in for problems like diabetes and hypertension and there were a couple of cardiac patients too. In dermatology, there have been people coming in with acne and freckles. There have been many requests for laser surgery of skin tumour, skin tags and moles. In fact in dermatology, sources say, about a third of the patients request cosmetic procedures.
"We do not usually refuse but refer to Pant where they are not always entertained because the guideline is very clear that no existing condition is to be treated," said a source.
Village residents are coming to ophthalmology with conditions like dry eye and refractive errors. Physiotherapy, predictably, is one department that has a lot of traffic and for the first few days, polyclinic staff had such a tough time explaining to people that it was not a spa and full body massages were not available, that they finally had to put up a sign explaining that only athletes and coaches were to be entertained.
The fully–equipped polyclinic, according to top sources in the health department, has grabbed quite a few eyeballs with its state–of–the–art digital Xray machine, whole body ultrasound machine, self–diagnostic ECG machines. In fact, facilities are so good that doctors managed to repair a case of serious facial trauma in a netball player in the polyclinic. Interestingly, it is not just the foreign guests who are seeking to bypass the limitations of their own healthcare systems.
Sources say OC, DDA and Delhi Police staff posted at the venue and even some of the construction workers had taken the opportunity for free medical consultation by some of the top names of four medical institutes in the city – MAMC, GTB, G B Pant and Lady Hardinge. "Our original brief was that we would not treat the staff except in emergencies but when people started coming in, we took a conscious decision not to refuse anybody," said a doctor.