I arrived in Singapore, a 24-hour stopover on my way to Madras, India, giving me time the next morning to take a city tour. I visited the Botanical Gardens where there were wedding parties posing for their pictures with the beautiful greenery and flowers. I also visited the oldest Chinese Buddhist Temple in Singapore, then drove through the Colonial Heart of the city and finished with a visit to the Empress House Museum where there was a stunning funerary ‘jade suit,’ made long ago for a royal person in China. Singapore is ‘old and new’ with contrasting cultures as part of a vibrant whole.
At 5:00 P.M. I was on my way to Madras, India. When I arrived it certainly presented a contrast to Singapore. The view from my hotel window at sunrise the next morning was fairly startling!
This trip is a little different than most, as I am devoting it mainly to exploring opportunities for hospital work, as I would like to live and work in India. I also will be visiting the Shanti Manalick Hospital in Agra for two weeks, where I will be doing a volunteer Administrative Assessment and Report at the request of the hospital’s founder, P.C. Mangalick.
I had spoken by telephone from home with Dr. Reddy, the founder of the Apollo Hospitals, who had suggested that I come and visit them, starting by visiting their hospital in Madras where he would meet me. When I got to my hotel, a PR woman from the hospital visited me, making plans for me to meet Dr. Reddy’s daughter, the hospital administrator, the next morning.
Pretti Reddy was most cordial and had me tour the hospital before meeting with Dr. Reddy. Dr. Reddy said that there was an opening for an administrator at their new Bangalore hospital (yet to open) and we discussed some of the particulars. He asked me to visit their Bangalore facility and also their ‘main’ hospital in Hyderabad during the next few days.
A special lunch was given for me, attended by Dr. Reddy’s wife and his daughters, as well as others of the administrative staff.
I also visited the TamilNadu Hospital in Madras which was still under construction. I had a nice visit with the administrator, whom I had corresponded with before coming, but this didn’t appear to offer any possible employment.
This construction had been started as something other than a hospital, which left many problems in the conversion. I could see the difficulties that this presented in order to be certified by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, to which Dr. Reddy aspired.
A hospital intern, Augustin, gave me a
The next day it was on to Hyderabad to visit the flagship hospital of Apollo Hospitals and meet again with Dr. Reddy. I met Sangita Reddy, another of the administrative daughters, and then toured the hospital. This system is a ‘for-profit’ enterprise and seems to be well-financed, well-run and certainly up-to-date with equipment. While India has a government system, the emerging upper middle class seems willing to pay more to get better healthcare in more up to date facilities.
The next day I flew to Bombay to visit with another possible hospital contact. Unfortunately I discovered that through miscommunication the man I was to see was gone and had expected me a week hence. I did take a quick look at Bombay, which had kind of a Sadie Thompson feel to it. It is India’s main industrial and business center and, as such, has a mixture of modern buildings and terrible living conditions for the poor. It is the most crowded city that I have ever been in and the population is burgeoning.
I flew on to Delhi where I was met by Dr. Ajay Kumar, the administrator of the All India Institute of Medical Science. When I arrived at the airport, a man was holding a sign with my name on it, so assuming that this was Dr. Kumar, I put out my hand to shake his in greeting. Wrong! This turned out to be the driver (a doctor could not do the lowly thing of holding up a sign in this culture) who became completely undone, not knowing how to handle my faux pas. Finally the situation was straightened out—Dr. Kumar was standing next to the driver, and we went to the hospital where I was put up in the guest quarters.
That evening I was invited to Dr. Kumar’s home for dinner with his wife, Nita, and his daughter, Nupoor. We had a wonderful vegetarian dinner of pilau, peas with cheese, dal, yoghurt with fresh fruit, chapatis, and pappadum.
What a whirlwind Indian hospital view. Still it seems exciting, and hopefully will result in a possible employment situation.