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Monday, April 25, 2011

Pediatric Visits

Pediatric Visit

Last weekend, we took Liya to her pediatrician here for a routine check up and vaccinations. This is her second pediatric visit in USA. The older one was during 15th month for vaccinations. Here is a glance at my experiences with Doc visits in India and USA.

Disclaimer:  These are mere perceptions/observations of a mother from two different countries; NOT an analysis on which is 'right or wrong' or 'good or bad' or 'like or dislike' approach in childcare.

1) For our first visit even though we tried for an appointment on 2nd week of December, they just didn't have slots available, we got an appointment for jan 15, nearly a month waiting. As far as I know, this will NEVER happen in India, you would get an appointment for next day or at-least next week even in many big hospitals.

2) While taking appointment, we were asked for our complete mailing address. We received an envelop with 5-6 sheets after a week or so. We had to fill-in all the pages and submit in the clinic before we see doc. It was a long questionnaire and I literally had to spent 2 hours to  recall, observe, analyze and fill-in. The questions covered all aspects of motherhood so far, from very beginning of pregnancy, no. of coffee/tea mom had consumed per day during pregnancy, food pattern of mom during pregnancy, any incidents of having fever, the mode of 'delivery', the reason behind C section, baby's height, weight and head circumference over months, baby's Apgar details, baby's food pattern, activities over weeks, likes dislikes... bla bla..  This will never happen in India. In India, the doc visit would never be a dramatic experience!

3) Upon reaching hospital we were again given 2-3 papers (phew.. who told this is paperless era?) the questions were almost similar to the ones we just handed over. The receptionist (R) still wanted us to fill in each question as "it is our procedure, you have to follow it if you want to see doc ".  In India, the probability is higher that R may granted a kick if such a scenario comes up. Isn't it a fact that the repetition of long procedures and processes are annoying (for us) unless there is a real need of it? In India, procedures in hospitals are much crisper and quick and yes many times least or no procedures ends up in a mess too.

4) As we done with all 'procedures' we were asked to go to a room for infants. We were asked to remove Liya's cloths except diaper and wait for the doc to turn up. Liya simply didn't like the unusual idea of removing her cloths in a really strange place, she might have smelled something wrong is gonna happen and began frenzied screaming. That's something new to me at-least. I was never asked to remove her cloths during any Doc visits in India. R came and weighed her, measured her height. Liya was all scared and did not let her measure height instead rolled through the bed. R had a difficult time handling her.

5) The Doc came down to the room where we were sitting (instead of we going and meeting him in his cabin). We were given 5-6 papers again which explained everything about all three vaccination she is gonna given. She was given a thorough check-up and a 'fitness certificate'. Again he asked the same questions which I filled in the papers mentioned above. I seriously don't understand what was the purpose of filling those papers though. She is recommended for a blood test to check the chances of lead in it.

6) He seems perplexed that Liya is a long breast-fed kiddu. He frowned and told me 'I am not sure whether she is getting all nutrients, you may have to give her iron and vitamin supplements'. I explained him that she follows a very healthy food time table, eats almost everything including meat, egg and drinking whole milk as well, is not generally given tinned food or outside jung food. He did not seems to be convinced that she might be getting nutrients, instead he told as she is given mother milk chances are that nutrients level might be low. Honestly, I did not understand the reason behind it. As far as I have heard (even many Indian doctors recommend) mother's milk contains lots of nutrients required for baby. As it is a religious teaching for us to breastfeed babies for two years, I rarely get to hear these kind of advices from Kerala, but in cities of India this may not be a new advice.

7) I do not wanna conceal my happiness that the needle used by her Doc was really thinner that I could hardly recognize it. He kept all three syringes  ready and shots were given so quickly (believe it or not, I must say everything was over in 2-3 seconds). Liya didn't even get to know that she was given three pricks on her thighs. I really appreciate the experience. As Indians, we might feel it kinda of strange and cruel attempt for a moment because we are used to seeing nurses/docs piercing very slowly by soothing baby with funny sounds or gestures. But I rather prefer this well timed fast shots which leave no pain to children.

8) All two times she was given separate injections for each vaccine. I did ask him about combination vaccinations he smiled and said nothing. She was given combi vaccinations in India. Still, point 7 makes me forget about combi vaccines.

9) Although we paid zero USD (yes insurance agency pays it), a single gaze at the bill gave me a shock treatment. Knowing that Govt hospitals in India provides it for free and private hospitals charges a good amount, these digits in USD were too higher than I anticipated.


  1. very nice and clear analysis. so in india. things r not as bad as we think...except the equipment. When my kids were smaller, there would have been no way i would wait for 1 week for an appointment- cant believ they were so process driven- atleast things in our pvt medical r much better.
    and pls continue breast feeding ur baby till 2. mother's milk is universally acknowledged as the best thing for your baby

  2. Thanks you! Things are NOT always bad in India, but the difference is that due to high population and comparatively less logistics, they often become faulty. The traffic in hospitals are much much higher compared to USA so the processes are forced finish quickly otherwise people would get agitated. Cultural difference does make a big difference too. US people are adapted to the systematic and process driven life style while we are NOT and we can NOT. Everything has its own pros and cons too.


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