Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hospitals and Clinics - The cleanliness for COVID-19

After a long wait of two months, all thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, I managed to get an appointment with my regular Dentist. I was told to come a bit earlier than the appointed time to do the sanitization and other precautions.

As soon as I entered the Dentist's clinic, they sprayed some sanitizer almost all over my clothes. They gave me a shower cap kind of stuff for covering my hair. Then two more such covers for my foot and then a plastic apron. Finally two plastic gloves. Basically I was covered head to toe and there was no room for any physical contact. 

The dentist too was in similar attire, and much more if I can say. Overall, I was feeling safe when I was in that environment. The entire dentist chair was covered in a layer of plastic, which would be replaced once I was done, and before the next patient would turn in. I must add, its an expensive affair, both from an economic point of view as well as the environment. But then I guess that's something that needs to be done in this crucial time and can take no chances until we have a better method of sanitizing or we have treatment for this Virus. 

They didn't even take my credit card for payment and only wanted me to pay using my mobile apps/wallets. That was the amount of discretion they choose to opt and I must say that, its a must. 

Given the medical knowledge the Dentist's and team have; and add to that the commonsense which should not be missed, every aspect was taken into account. 
In the end, I was told to take an x-ray of my teeth in the next door diagnostic center. As per the ritual, I was given a hand sanitizer before I entered and they took my temperature reading with a contactless thermometer. So far all good. 

Once I entered and showed the prescription of the X-ray to be taken, he gave me a form to be filled. It didn't look like the pen or the cardboard where the paper was placed was cleaned well. I was not sure, how many people had touched it. Nevertheless I choose to use my own pen and wrote the details, with minimum contact of the cardboard, submitted the form, and took my seat. 

Suddenly someone behind me sneezed loudly. I just went away from that place, instantly and moved towards the reception. When I turned back, I happened to see a person in a white Kurta talking on the phone and the mask- not covering the nose or the mouth, but only his neck. As usual the mask is only a fashion statement. When I told the folks at the reception that, the person is sneezing and the reason for wearing a mask is so that, the virus doesn't spread, he only acknowledged saying OKAY. There was no action from his side. He didn't try and educate him not to do so. Everyone in that sitting area was at risk but there seemed no difference to him.  I told the receptionist the second time, but the response was the same. There was no difference during the third attempt. 

That's when I realized that when they are so careless of someone sneezing, how can I afford to take any risk with their x-ray machines which I will be in contact with. It was within a few minutes of difference I got to see two different worlds in a medical environment. I simply left that place, never to be seen again. I also made sure that I informed my dentist so that he doesn't send any other patients to the same clinic. 

This was the first time, I had visited a medical facility after the start of COVID-19, and these two huge differences in handling the patients made me understand that, we need to be in charge of ourselves and can't rely on any medical facility by its own. Different people have different methods of handling. 

In the Dental Clinic, the Dentist was responsible for the whole clinic, while in the diagnostic center, the owner or the responsible person was not to be seen. It was only the employees. And these small differences as to who actually runs the administration does make all the difference.