30 July, 2021

Guts And Glory

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

At AIIMS' gastro wing: the price of popurality
Tribhuvan Tiwari
Guts And Glory
Doctors at the gastroenterology department of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are an overworked lot. So an endoscopy procedure performed to John Denver’s famously hummable Country Roads does not seem that bizarre. It’s not as if the patient is less important. It’s just that the music helps evaporate the sweat of handling volumes far greater than what the department is equipped for. The outpatient facility here is meant for 500 patients a day but referred cases number close to a huge 6,000, most of whom are either terminal or getting there.

Like any other government hospital, AIIMS is also a test lab for trying the limits of physical endurance. There’s sticky red tape, contagious apathy, grubby loos, prospering colonies of roaches and mice, paan stains and union posters on walls. "You may say these are unhygienic conditions but what do we do? The whole place is falling apart," says the department’s US-trained head Prof Rakesh Tandon. But the gastroenterology—involving diseases and disorders of the digestive system—department...

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