My experiences as a doctor, patient and everything between and beyond- Why I do what I do.
27 years in healthcare. And so they ask- “But why, what’s your story?”
Well, there is no story. I am simply passionate about health care.
This is all that I know. This is all that I wanted to know. And this is all that I am.
I knew I wanted to be a doctor from the age of 7. And so I became one. It was probably my calling. Treating people excited me.
I was trained in government hospitals- civil, district, and state. That’s all there was. It was the year 1996. Health care was just coming out of the public domain. Hospitals were limited. And so, there was always a rush. Hospitals were always packed to the brim. One doctor to 60 patients or more. One bed to 3 patients. It was simply a problem of demand and supply.
Soon organized Privatization started to scale. People were afraid ‘service’ would become ‘business’. Money would become paramount. But when was money not important? It always was. But this money brought about a non-negotiable dimension- Quality Health Care. And accessibility to it! I saw the transition first hand. The number of hospitals increased dramatically. Infrastructure became better. High end technology came in. And for the first time, more world-class doctors were available than ever!
But, it was still messy. While now there were hospitals in every corner, nobody knew where to go. Who specialised in what. And which was better. While ‘private’ brought quality, there was no standardization. There was no one-shot number to call when you were sick. And so the patients kept looking for ‘good doctors’, while the doctors kept waiting for patients. At some clinics, there was a line of 250 patients. Two-fifty! Each waiting for their slot and suffering while they waited. While others- simply vacant. Lots of beds and amenities, but no patients. There was demand, there was supply. But neither were connected. The imbalance remained.
A few more years passed and I saw the consolidation of ‘corporate hospitals’.
I saw the potential. Health care was changing. And I was part of the change. I worked in Max Healthcare for ten years, and the experience was powerful- personally and professionally!
Yet, the gaps existed— the missing lines. India was changing, but only some parts of it. And destiny had me experience it first hand.
It had to be my dad. The man I loved the most, my North Star, my guiding force, the strongest man I knew! But by the year 2013, my strong army dad was slowly turning old… battling diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
I lost him not to cancer, but because of poor healthcare.
That fateful day, we were in Lucknow for my husband’s 25th anniversary of his medical school admission. While we were getting ready for an evening of fun and frolic, my dad started feeling short of breath. We took him to the nearest hospital, infact, we went to three! But the first didn’t have an ICU, the second a ventilator, and the third- no trained doctors in the ICU. Three hospitals, one gasping patient and two attendants giving CPR.
I lost him…he died in my arms. And as I mourned his death, there was an overwhelming remorse of ‘what if’.
‘What if we were in Delhi’!
‘Perhaps I could have saved him!’ – A long list of ‘if’, ‘but’, and ‘perhaps’.
And I wondered why? Why only the capital of the nation? This happened in Lucknow, just 500 Kms from Delhi! The state with one of the best medical colleges, and this level of poor healthcare!
So what about the smaller cities? What happens to these people when they fall ill? What happens to their emergencies?
I knew losing my father was not just my story. Hundreds were losing theirs every day- simply because they were not in the right city with access to the right doctor at the right time in the right hospital. And I had to do my part… I had to try.
And so I try. I try every day. Today as I head the Medical Directorate at Pristyn Care, I know I am doing my part. I help in connecting patients to doctors and doctors to hospitals, to deliver the right treatment with the best technique and technology. We, at Pristyn Care, connect the dots of health care.
We are patient obsessed…
The right doctor is far? -We will bring him to a clinic near you.
The right hospital is far? -We will bring a cab to you.
The hospital doesn’t have the latest equipment and technology? -We will bring to them the latest and most advanced technology.
But we will ensure you get the best, from the best and at the right time. And we do this in every city. No matter how big or small.
You won’t be running to places filing papers or understanding procedures, No. This is not the time for you to do that. You stay with your loved one, and we will do the rest for you. We explain the procedures to you beforehand and help you with your paperwork. You will get the best no matter where you are from, which state you are in, or your bank balance. There is no compromise on the quality of surgical care as everyone deserves the best.
I believe I am in the right place at the right time as I have walked the health care path in every shoe- a patient, patient’s attendant, and a medico.
Healthcare is my religion. Finding solutions is my calling. Everything about health care excites me, every problem in health care drives me. And does this answer the ‘why’?
-27 years and every day still excites me. So that is my story- a story of passion, a story of connecting the dots!
Dr Shaloo Varma
Senior Vice President,
Medical Directorate | Pristyn Care