1 Broken Scooter, 4 Iron Cots, 1 Used Ford, 3 Cats, and 1 Small Room

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Rohit Singh
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Wed, 13 Sep 2006

Too Poor To Get Treatment

Everytime I go to India, things seem changed. Delhi feels cleaner, richer, and brasher (Delhites were never very bad at that last one). The roads are better, people have decent power backups, and the Delhi Metro in its brand new glory is better than any of the Metros I've been on-- New York, London, Boston, or D.C.

But some things still haven't changed. There are too many shockingly poor Indians. The excerpt below is from a NYT article about India getting another rich man's disease-- Type II Diabetes. The irony is, the guy who got the rich man's disease was too poor to find treatment:

"In his lectures, Dr. Ramachandran recounts the case of an impoverished diabetic with a hideously infected leg. Unable to find medical care, he laid the leg across the railroad tracks. The next train to hurtle past did the surgery."

For what it's worth, it's not even that money will guarantee you good care. There are so few good doctors and facilities that even rich people sometimes can't buy the level of treatment they want. From personal experience, I can say that you may have to plead and cajole to find a room at a hospital where the daily room charges are four times the monthly income of the average Indian. Imagine how small a fraction of Indians would be in a position to pay that; and yet there aren't enough top-notch facilities that can serve even them. It's depressing how far India has to go.

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