Gina writes:

Here's a sad and frustrating story of a good friends of ours.

One of our neighbors, Binu, has become a good friend here in Koraput. When we returned from our vacation in Pondicherry, we found out that she had been admitted to the hospital for malaria and typhoid. The hospital is only about 50 yards from our house, so it was easy to visit her each day.

A visit to Koraput's hospital is quite the experience. It's the best hospital in the district, but the conditions are surprising.
--There may be varying levels of quality in the rooms, but the room that Binu was in and the other rooms that we saw each had 16-20 beds in them with no curtains to maintain privacy and no real sense of cleanliness.
--A bed and a rusty bedside table are provided for the patient. That's it--no sheets or pillows, no hospital gown, no food.
--There are bathrooms, but the patients avoid entering them if possible. Many bathe and do their business outside by the pump well or down by the river. Binu went to her home rather than use the hospital facilities.

I certainly was not going to take a picture while visiting, so this one found online shows what the room looked like.

Binu was in decent spirits whenever we went to visit, but it was obvious that she was feeling weak and disoriented. She wasn't able to sleep and she wasn't improving like expected. About 5 days after she was admitted, she was having chest pains and problems breathing during the night. The next day, the doctors referred her to the hospital in Visakhapatnam, a better facility about 5 hours away by car.

The reason isn't clear to me, but instead of going to the hospital, Binu's family took her to a clinic first. There, she was retested for various illnesses and got a big surprise. Apparently, she DIDN'T have malaria or typhoid, only an upper respiratory infection! The hospital in Koraput maybe switched her results with someone else or read the results incorrectly, but the result is that, over the course of Binu's 6 days in the hospital, she received 120 injections of medication to cure malaria and typhoid that she didn't have!

The clinic in Visakhapatnam gave her some pills (antibiotics, I'm guessing) and sent her home. She immediately started to feel better, rested in Visakhapatnam for a few days at her sister's house, and then returned to Koraput. Now, she says she's "95% good" and feeling better. However, the fact remains that her family is burdened with paying for the hospital's mistake. 6,500 rupees for the hospital stay, 2,100 rupees to hire to a car to Visakhapatnam, and only 500 rupees for the clinic visit and medication that she needed all along. That equals about $190, which doesn't sound like much, but is the monthly salary you can expect to make here if you have a master's degree, which no one in Binu's family has.

Here's hoping that Corey and I don't have the need for a hospital anytime in the next 15 months!