Aap Singh on coming to know of this came rushing to Indore and on seeing his son in bad shape argued with the doctor to discharge him as he did not have any trust in his treatment. He said that even the quacks in his village could treat fever and diarrhoea better and they would do it for a few hundred rupees instead of the thousands he was charging. A heated argument ensued that continued for a few hours but eventually Aap Singh had his way and Prem Singh was released. As it was already evening, Aap Singh called me and asked whether they could spend the night at our house before going home. I told him to come home. I went through all the diagnosis, tests and prescriptions and found that apart from having a low haemoglobin level of 10 mg per litre there was not much else wrong with Prem Singh. True he had fever but it was not very high and he was going frequently to the toilet to relieve himself because of loose motion. The doctor while discharging him had given him antibiotic and antacid tablets and paracetamol. Only an anti-diarrhoeal was missing. I told him to give him these medicines and gave an anti-diarrhoeal from our stock. By next morning Prem Singh had recovered and in the afternoon Aap Singh took him home to his village on a motorcycle!!
This whole episode brings out the total disarray in which the health system is in this country. Prem Singh was most probably affected by pathogens in the drinking water in his hostel. Why was he affected while other hostelers were not? It might be because he is anaemic. Anaemia reduces the power of the immune system of the body to resist pathogens. Be that as it may, the illness was not very serious and with proper medication would have subsided within a few days. The dispensary in his college did not have the basic medication for fever and diarrhoea. The specialist doctor of the private hospital that he was taken to administered medicines through intravenous drip despite Prem Singh being fully capable of taking them through the mouth. The two days in the hospital cost him 7000 rupees and even after that he was cured. The administration of medicines through intravenous injections diluted with normal saline had become an irrational bane of treatment in this country as shown in the picture below.
Thus, the poor in this country are caught in a deadly pincers of malnutrition on the one hand which reduces the power of their immune system and makes them vulnerable to disease, an almost non-existent public health sytem, a rapacious private health system practicing irrational medicine and a lack of knowledge of basic medicine. A student of engineering who has great innovative power in his field does not know anything about basic medicine and that shows how lopsided our education sytem is. With neither health nor education we have a recipe for disaster.