Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pediatricians in Jakarta and Pune: The Good, Bad and the Ugly !

Going to the doctors in Indonesia was always a nice experience and the four days hospitalization for my delivery was like a spa treatment! The nurses, midwives, lactation consultants and even my obgyn were all so damn sweet to me! I don't think I've ever felt so pampered in my entire life! I was on pain killers, my baby slept most of the time and I had professional help 24/7. Oh baby's crying, ting tong! And they could come and attend. Oh he needs a diaper change, ting tong! And there they were. It was awesome.

I'd thought all those doctor visits were over once the baby was born but then I had a look at the vaccination schedule. We had to prick him every two weeks! (or so). It's imperative to have a DARN good pediatrician because healthy or not, children are anyways susceptible to illness. It may be just a rash, but you need someone you trust to tell you that it's nothing. Someone who listens to every word you say without any preconceived notion, who doesn't talk in riddles and lays all card on the table very clearly, whose diagnosis doesn't seem like guesswork and who doesn't over medicate.

The first doctor in Jakarta was quite a terror. Very popular (looking at the queue of people outside her door) AND recommended by my OBGYN. I remember being all confused with the breastfeeding and meeting her only made it worse. When I was bursting with milk she said never use a pump! When my baby hadn't made up for the initial four days weight loss she said he's not being fed enough! When I pulled out a bottle (filled with breast milk no less!) it was as if I had pulled out a revolver! I was confused and tensed already and I didn't want a judgmental doctor from hell to confuse me even more!

And after some amount of ped-hopping we finally met Dr Djohan Agahari at SOS Clinic Kuningan. He was a god sent and absolutely the best. (In spite of my baby screaming his lungs out the moment he saw his face, as he’d started recognizing the man who pricked him!). And we loved visiting SOS clinic (YES we loved going to doctors!) although it was frightfully expensive (and so are all medicines compared to India.) A couple of things better in Jakarta compared to India: 
  • Cleanliness and comfortable waiting areas. I've never felt like I'm marinating in a pool of germs! I'd been to several hospitals in order to select one for my delivery, and this holds true for all. SOS also had a very nice play area for children.
  • Nurses, reception, doctors are ALWAYS warm and nice. In India, not just is it rare to be received with a smile, but most of them look at you as if you are the scum of the earth, why don't you just die instead of coming to this doctor!
  • Medicines are labelled with the name of patient, date of purchase & dosage. That makes things so damn clear and convenient that I've started doing that here on my own too!
  • We frequented SOS for annual check-ups, physicians etc and they kept our records and fished them out every time we visited. (I do keep records at home but they are all over the place and I most likely forget carrying them to the doctor.)

In Pune we did some ped-hopping too. The first doctor we took our child to was overbooked. There were all these children and people crammed into one tiny waiting room. We thought we would wait downstairs, which meant navigating through a dark stairway. Once our turn came, the doc gave us a quick glance, asked us to lay him down on one of the dirty four beds. He then checked him in precisely three seconds and a later gave us a long prescription. (It's not like he was cheaper than the others- and looking at the crowd he must really have a good word of mouth!) But when I got to the chemist and read what was on the bottle that I realised he had given high dosage of Allegra and Amoxicillin! For a cold! To a 1.5 yr old!

After a few such crazy experiences we did zero in on two good pediatricians. Our regular one is Dr Archana Latkar, in Aundh. She's nice, down the road, accessible, listens to everything I say, and doesn't over medicate.

Another one I highly recommend is Dr Umesh Vaidya in camp/ rasta peth. Although he is not very accessible (try getting an appointment! He is that sought after!), his clinic is far (20-30 mins) and parking is a bitch, it is handy to have him as an option when you're all confused, helpless and when only the best will do.

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