…Okay, so I wasn’t on the front page, but we did make the third page of today’s newspaper!
It’s the main newspaper for all of Faridabad, over two million people. I found out I was in it because one of the local boys shouted at me on the street this afternoon saying, “John! You’re in the newspaper!” His mother had saved it for me and translated it for us since it is in Hindi. The article talks about how we are or will become medical students and are volunteering in the local government hospital to gain experience, learn about the Indian healthcare system, and provide assistance. It addresses the three of us by name and our home countries.
The funny thing is that the same reporter who published this had asked me why we were there while in one of the hospital stairwells. I declined to comment because talking to the media back home is usually so tightly regulated. I also didn’t want my words to get mistaken. That could turn out poorly. The doctors and staff, however, seem to freely talk to the reporters. They told the man who we were and what we were doing as he covertly used his cell phone to snap this picture. When we arrived at the hospital this morning, a photographer was present with a much more serious camera to get us going into the hospital.
I spent most of the day with the dermatologist and my co-volunteer who is a fourth-year medical student. We learned an amazing amount about dermatology because we saw approximately 100 patients. Although the patients are usually, well, patient, I counted as many as 17 of them at a time in the doctor’s small outpatient office today.
One of the most interesting cases was this man. He has rheumatoid arthritis but the doctor believed he might also have a mild case of leprosy.
Another interesting patient was a female who came in with a handsome looking police officer and another woman to have her acne treated. At first, I thought they were all family. Then, I noticed that the accompanying woman was also wearing a police uniform under her jacket. I still didn’t think much of it until the policeman made a strangling gesture while talking to the doctor. The doctor informed us later that the patient was a prisoner who had murdered her husband. My friend and I looked at each other in amazement. We can’t predict anything here, even when it’s right in front of us. Who would have thought that a convicted murderer would be allowed to walk around without cuffs and armed escorts?