Last week one of our guests needed emergency medical assistance.
We were having a yoga session when suddenly, during a standing exercise, this young European swayed with her eyes closing and head wobbling loosely and fell to the ground, all within a split second. We were able to revive her soon enough, apply an ice pack to her head, and get her to lie down for the rest of the day. But by the evening her travelling companion came down to tell us that she was giddy and nauseous. What could we do for her?
With her lying down in the back seat of the car head cradled in her companion’s lap, we drove to our doctor in the city. As a former professor of the leading medical college in the city, a cardiac surgeon by specialization, and a general practitioner by default, we decided that he would be our first port of call.
When we arrived at his clinic, we were ushered in without delay. Following a physical examination he put us into an ambulance that took us to an ‘MRI and CT Scan Centre’ about 3 km away for a CT scan of her head. The scan was conducted immediately, and within 30 minutes we had the scanned images and report in our hands packed into a brightly-designed bag and were speeding back in the ambulance to our doctor.
The CT scan proved normal and our guest was already smiling. In the doctor’s presence, her companion phoned her insurance agency who then spoke to the doctor for his diagnosis. Before we left, the doctor prescribed medicines should any episode of giddiness recur during the rest of her travels. He also wrote down the generic names of the medicines for the reference of the insurance company’s own doctors. The whole exercise had taken us 4 hours, and had cost her INR 1800 (INR 1500 CT scan and INR 300 doctor’s fees). The equivalent of USD 35.
Our guests were grateful. The doctor had been very professional and was, obviously, very competent and widely travelled himself. Equally, they were amazed at the speed with which they were able to access first-rate medical facilities – doctor, ambulance, CT scan – in a mid-range Indian tourist town like Jaipur, from out of a rural resort, and walk away with a CT scan report in record time, a procedure that they said would have taken them at least a week to ten days in their home country. And they were amazed that they had spent only a fraction of what it would have cost them at home (which would be USD 1500 for a CT scan).
They mused that they were definitely returning home with a picture of India that was interesting and complex, but also admirable. They had seen the the Taj Mahal and the sights of Delhi and Jaipur. They had also experienced the reality of rural India from the comfort and safety of a novel resort located in the heart of the Rajasthan countryside. And they had come up close with a modern and professionally competent medical environment in a manner that was both timely and reassuring.