There are some “dirty little secrets” of Nepal healthcare – things that everybody knows but which nobody talks about. And my book, The Sacrament of the Goddess, deals with many of them, head-on. That’s why the novel has a cult following among doctors and nurses who have read it in Nepal.
Oh, the descriptions of the novel are a bit vague
“It’s a love story;” or
“It’s about the Civil War in Nepal and the missionaries caught in the middle;” or
“It’s about the way that medical decisions are made in a low income setting.”
Yeah, well, all the above are true, sort of. But the story is also about the way that people in Nepal deal with tragedy during those times when the doctors are unable to save somebody’s life.
“Thrashing” is a euphemism
And that’s where it gets interesting. The newspapers in Kathmandu always seem to publish stories about how this or that group of angry relatives “thrashed” a doctor, beating him (or her) senseless or creating a disturbance. When I first heard the term I thought it was “quaint.” Getting thrashed means that a mob beats you with bamboo sticks. If they are angry enough they can break every bone you have.
But there are even more stories that do not make the papers, and every doctor and every nurse is able to share the details of their own encounter with danger.
Young doctors dealing with fear
Young doctors in Nepal are trained at the larger hospitals, but after getting their MBBS degree, many of them spend a year posted in a rural health post, as a partial payment for student loans. If you ask them about this, their near-unanimous feeling is worry about trying to do the best they can, yet getting thrashed by angry family members if things don’t turn out perfectly.
Three actions to take
Every one concerned about this issue can do three things.
First, go to Vajra Books on Jyatha in Thamel, or Tibet Books on Tri Devi Marg, and buy The Sacrament of the Goddess. It’s a highly readable novel that gives a first-hand, truthful picture about hospitals in Nepal. Yes, folks, it’s the book I wrote.
Next, this issue is addressed in the 2- and 3-day courses in cardiac resuscitation taught by CCNEPal. CCNEPal has materials on strategies to minimize the risk of an escalating situation. Those persons who have taken the course can tell you about it. Sign up for a course.
UPDATE May 2nd 2016
If you don’t believe that this is a problem, read this report from Maharashtra State in India.
Finally, in the coming days, I will post a series of blog entries on the CCNEPal blog page, that will educate about strategies to deal with this problem. Click here to get to that blog, and when you do- click on the “subscribe” button. It will be a series you won’t want to miss. You will want to share it with your friends.