Mrs. Das smiled widely at her beautiful baby girl. She held on tightly to her husband’s hand as the nurse gently placed the newborn into her welcoming arms, and all of the onlookers – two OBGYNs, three nurses, and two Yuva for Sewa interns – could see the happiness radiating from this family.
For the first time in my life, I witnessed what is oftentimes called the miracle of life – the birth of a child. I observed the entire procedure, from the time that the mother-to-be entered the active phase of labor to the health checkup of the newborn baby to the introduction of the baby to the rest of the family; each step is breathtakingly beautiful in its own way.
As an intern at Rangadore Memorial Hospital in Bangalore, I have witnessed five natural births and two C-sections and have had the opportunity to learn and observe as the OBGYNs go about their daily routines. In the past five weeks, I have observed various OT procedures and sat in on outpatient appointments in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at the reputable hospital. The doctors in the OBGYN unit are extremely supportive of our efforts to learn from them, and they are constantly teaching us and informing us about their patients’ issues and proposed treatment plans.
I especially appreciate observing when the OBGYNs interact with patients who are completely unlike themselves. Once while in the outpatient department, I observed as Dr. Aruna Muralidhar treated an elderly lady who had come from a rural village four hours away. She did not understand Dr. Muralidhar’s Hindi or Kannada, so Dr. Muralidhar spoke to her in Telugu. I was in awe of the doctor’s patience and compassion as she strove to make her patient as comfortable as possible. In addition, because she knew that her patient was coming from a great distance away, she prescribed various procedures and tests all at one time so that the elderly lady did not have to return to Bangalore many times. I later asked Dr. Muralidhar how many languages she spoke and she listed off seven languages, saying that it is important for doctors in Bangalore to know at least four languages in order to aptly treat their patients. She also told me that the head OBGYNs of the department always wear saris, instead of scrubs, to keep their patients at ease. She stressed that patients are most relaxed when their doctors make an effort to be similar to them. This is a very different mindset from the one of doctors in the United States, who often have difficulty interacting with patients from different backgrounds who speak languages other than English. Interpreters are used very often in American hospitals, and such intrusion can make patients uneasy. Here in India, I have seen that doctors make their patients’ comfort a priority. I am extremely grateful to the hospital and to Sewa International for giving me the opportunity to witness the inner workings of the Indian healthcare system.
In return, we, interns, are working to serve the patients and doctors at Rangadore Hospital in any capacity. During the past week, we painted the walls of the Pediatric Chemotherapy ward in order to create a more lively space. We decided on a “jungle” theme, and within three days we had painted a lion, an elephant, a giraffe, a zebra, and many birds and trees. When we visited the ward a few days after finishing painting, we saw that the children and the parents absolutely loved the paintings, a stark contrast from the previous bare walls. The pediatricians informed us that we were able to bring smiles to their patients’ faces; we were so happy to hear that. In the next week, we will also be painting the labor wards. In addition to painting, we are creating a curriculum to teach the nurses of the OBGYN unit midwifery and creating informational fliers/brochures about diabetes and maternal health. We are so glad that we can be of service to the doctors and to the hospital administration, and we look forward to serving their patients in the coming weeks as well.
Overall, we are thoroughly enjoying our time as interns at Rangadore Memorial Hospital. We are learning so much by shadowing the OBGYNs and we are also grateful that we can give back by serving their patients. We are looking forward to our remaining weeks in India and we hope to continue aiding the doctors and their patients.