Cadavers of King Edward
Technically it should be the Cadavers of Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College but then it wouldn't have a ring to it. Just like most of the institutions of Bombay. But that's another story to tell. This post is about my visit to King Edward Memorial Hospital, without being ill. A government hospital, typically is a depressing place. Overcrowded with patients belonging to lower income groups, with no air conditioning, and the ubiquitous smell of antiseptic. There are patients lined up everywhere and the entire scene stands a stark contrast to the likes of private hospitals. But there is one thing that lightens up the atmosphere. Hope. This is the common feeling that binds everyone in that area and keeps them going. And then there are smiles of relieved patients and their relatives. It is quite heartening. A microcosm of the human struggle to survive. Only difference here unlike the wild, you have fellow human beings to help you through.
Dressed in white, young and old, males and females, these committed and skilled individuals are the main reasons of hope. Also highly underrated. They are the ones to whom we entrust our lives and believe that they would bring an end to the pain. They try very hard and often succeed. They run about from ward to ward, take readings, operate on delicate organs and bring joy to the lives of these people who are shunned and looked down upon by the society. They are highly trained and too just next door, in the Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College. One of the most coveted institutions in the field of medical education, this college clearly delivers the best in the business. Although business would be a wrong term. With lower fees and better facilities, this green campus has some intelligent people walking around. So when my friend and an ex-student of GS Medical offered to show me around, I couldn't resist.
Walking through the gates of the college, one encounters the dean's cabin which she points out in a slightly hushed tone. And in comes rushing to my head the image of Dr. Asthana. Moving on through the corridors, one crosses the BCR and the LCR. I spot a carrom somewhere and again I remember Pappa from the movie. My guide is a budding doc with her heart set on public health, she is happy to show me around and enthusiastically answers all my questions. (read too many of them!) Climbing the hallowed stairwell, we land up at the Anatomy Department and we see 3 cadavers lying inside. (Cut to MMBS again). With a quick permission to get in, we enter. These are the unclaimed bodies she quips, anticipating my next question. I told you these people were smart. The stomach has been cut open but the tissue has been folded back. I can't see the insides. So I simply observe and wonder if they ever thought that they would land up here. Forever in a hospital.
As me move ahead, I bump into a friend from school who is training to become a doctor. Like he always wanted to, since the time I have known him. Inspiring to see someone pursue their dreams. Climbing the final level, we reach the terrace. It offers a superb 360 degree view of the surrounding areas of Parel and Lower Parel. The skyline has changed drastically, my friend tells me. Now dominating it are highrises with equally high rents We watch a squirrel scurry across the parapet and hear the koyal call out to its mate. The sky is overcast and the new hospital building stands tall. A new place of hope. Again a metaphor of the changing times. Built of brick and mortar unlike the building that we stand on. Specks of green dot the entire landscape.
From there we head to the wards and I am amazed at the number of patients admitted in each ward. With no privacy, their dignity is sure compromised to a certain extent, but the frugal price they pay for the treatment compensates for it. Tales of nepotism especially by the BMC Corporators are not unheard of. However, things could be better. Alas it is time for me to leave. On the way out we spot a common tailor bird, a Spanish Cherry tree (Bakula) and the most fascinating the Cannonball Tree. We also walk pass the Dean's lawn where cultural events are hosted. Although there were several departments and wards that we could have visited, the place still seemed expansive. This sprawling campus is equipped with 1800 beds and handles upto 1.8 million patients everyear, it is truly an integral part of the city's infrastructure. I was fortunate enough to have visited this place without being ill. And without my kind friend, I would have surely got lost in the labyrinth that is KEM. Thank you madam!
Also I missed having a camera.