In the past week I saw two women with neat and deep cuts on their wrists....allegedly accidental. And there is a lot I learnt from them in the 15 minutes I spent with them
Girl # 1 came in the evening, well dressed, young. 18 according to her case sheet. Brought by neighbours.
When we asked her how she managed to get her wrist cut, she said that she fell on a sheet of metal!! However she didn't have a single scratch on her body, nor any other injury a person who falls from a height would sustain.....how miraculous for her.
"You didn't try and commit suicide, did you?"
"No nothing like that"
We accepted her story and took her to the table for suturing her injury. Since it was a visible area on her wrist, to save her from an unsightly scar we made her buy a fine suture material which costs around Rs.120/. Otherwise the BMC provides suture material of a slightly thicker diameter for any patient who comes to the Minor Operation theatre. The girl was eager to watch what I was doing and at the same time would wince the moment I took the needle near her skin. Local anaesthesia had been given and all was just fine.
"Baghu nakos ga!"
(Don't look here)
"Nahi mala baghaychay tumhi kay karta tey"
(No, I want to watch what you do)
She said she worked at a private practitioner's clinic at Cotton green and that she was used to all that.
"Kay kartes tithe?"
(What do you do there)
"Sagla karte...takey ghete, dressing karte, ECG kadhtey, injection dete......."
(I do everything...suture wounds, wound dressing, take ECGs, give injections....)
"Kay shikli ga tu?" The OT assistant asked her
(What are your qualifications?)
(Flunked 10th standard)
After I had taken some 6 stitches she asked me how many more I would be taking. The wound was a good 6-7 cms long and I told her that I can't really say.
"Andajey sanga naa...."
(Make an estimate)
"Tuch kar naa...takey ghetes na tu pan"
(Why don't you make one....you too do suturing, right)
"Tumhi javal javal ghetlet na takey......amhi khup lamb gheyo.....me he kam don-teen takyat kele astey"
(You have taken knots at a very small distance....I would have done this in only 2 or 3 knots)
She continued "Amhi patientla vicharto..kiti takey gheu..karan ek taka ghyayla doctor 100 rupaye ghetat"
(Actually we ask patients how many stitches should be taken as doctor charges Rs.100 per knot taken)
We all asked the girl to continue her education..take a second attempt at English, the subject she had failed in. But she was the sole breadwinner of her family and further education was out of question. Her older sister was shorter than her and was denied any job at any place.
"Pan mi mazya dhaktya bhavala shikavnarach ahey"
(But I am going to see to it that my younger brother gets educated)
I sincerely hope her younger brother remembers his sister's sacrifice for him and the family and takes care of her in the future when she needs it. And that the unethical doctor is brought to the book ASAP! Both seem like remote possibilities to me
Part II will follow later ...tired of typing anymore