A fever clinic or a dispensary is a government-run project that aims at decreasing the load of bigger hospitals like LNJP, GB PANT, etc., which were flooded with patients due to dengue fever. Most of the patients who are admitted in hospitals need much more attention than others, which is why the dispensary acts as a filter to get the urgent ones treated first. As these clinics got filled up, students from Maulana Azad Medical College were called in to help and their experiences are what we share here. Dengue is not a fatal disease if proper precautions are taken and a timely intervention is done. The story comes to the same conclusion of not letting the mosquitoes breed and preventing any fresh water stagnation. People are expected to use mosquito repellant creams and use mosquito nets, butknowing the experiences of budding doctors in their words is an interesting thing.
By the end of the first day, it had dawned upon us that it was not just the pathology of the patient that required immediate attention. The panic-struck patient had to be reassured and counselled well. This was many-a-time not possible during a patient load of 150-200 per day. We had realised that only a prescription could not treat the patient entirely. Therefore, we sat there, being good listeners and counselors- both to the patient and his attendants. We heard their doubts, history, the problems they faced and mostly how scared they were owing to the panic all around. After telling their tales, the patients walked out feeling more confident and better already- thanks to a strengthened doctor-patient relationship.
We distinctly remember how nervous and excited we were as we entered the dispensary. With butterflies running riot in our stomachs, we knocked on the ‘Doctor’s Room’, a windowless room with a drab beige paint. Patients shuffled in and out of the room. A symphony of aunties lamenting their illness whirred around us. Even after we had settled down, we could feel adrenaline coursing through our vessels. Muzzled with feelings of ineptitude, with a mere 1.5 month experience of clinics, we started with our work. Honestly, the work load was pretty hectic. Amongst the patients we dealt with, there seemed to be a profusion of diarrhea, tuberculosis and dengue, of course! As the days went on, we had moments of panic and disorientation, but also satisfaction at our micro achievements such as successfully taking blood from a wriggling and screaming 10 year old.
The moment we used to pass the string of patients seated outside, and ask “kya main aapki kuch madad kar sakta hun?”, their brightened faces would look at us with respect, that we were hitherto unaware of! Ironically, in this age of consumer-provider relationship, we were quite oblivious to the romance and social privilege once given to the doctor!
True, we did miss the comfort of our air conditioned LTs but the generous offerings of CAMPA, bread pakora and CHAI to the “Doctor Saahab” made up for it.
Well post those 7 days something has changed for sure; all that cramming, late night studies as a medical student is worth it, doing the job of your dreams, learning something every day. Indeed, it was surreal, almost like being transported into Dr.House’s shoes but without a script! Although when we first learnt about the week long posting in which we were required to serve at the various dispensaries across Delhi, we were a bit apprehensive and reluctant. But eventually we realised that the worry was all in vain! A day or two later, we were a lot more confident than before. Though the hours were long, and the work too tedious, it all seemed worth it when we were able to rightly counsel the patient, and they heaved a sigh of relief. After all, dengue is just another infectious disease, and not a calamity. Working together, the local community and the medical fraternity can fight the disease and keep it at bay. Once the patients understood the fact that the disease was not utmost fatal, especially if the diagnosis had been done timely. And well, at the end of the day, all we worked hard for was to see a smile on their faces- the very assurance that our efforts, howsoever small and insignificant it may seem to many, have had a profound impact on the patient’s life.
Contributed by students of Maulana Azad Medical College.