The sad tale of my tooth!

Mehnaz N *

JNIMS (Jawarhal Lal Nehru Institute of Medical Science) at Porompat
JNIMS (Jawarhal Lal Nehru Institute of Medical Science) at Porompat :: Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam
See a full 360 Panoramic view of JNIMS here

"The farce continues in RIMS Dental College", this bold headline on Saturday TSE's front page caught my eyeballs instantly. Well, not because of the "total disarray" of administration or an expected corruption concerning the long awaited Dental College, but it reminded me of my "aching tooth"! I know, I am very quick in establishing connection! But why not? My tooth is priceless, so are yours. And I want the best treatment for my teeth so that I start shooting for Close-Up ad!

Jokes apart, I seriously want my teeth to shine and the said college to rise above all the controversies and start functioning asap! Because, our top two government hospitals with the so-called state-of-the-art infrastructures aren't equipped to treat our teeth! Yes, they can't ! Trust me, I have experienced it!

Well, the sad tale of my tooth goes like this- the next morning after I landed here, I went straight to the JNIMS for its famous OPD and hygienic (read: new) equipments and infrastructure to treat my aching tooth. Awestruck, I was to see the new state hospital and medical institute. Believe me or not, it was very clean and fresh since I visited when it was JN hospital! I was really impressed! After praising the government (in my heart), I went inside and got myself a 10-rupee ticket to consult a Dentist (wow! very cheap!!).

I know it could have cost me a grand if I was treating the tooth in some private clinics. Actually, I wanted to visit the best private dental clinic, however, my parents pushed me to go to the said government hospital for its facilities and nearness. They told their awesome experience at the hospital and how nicely the doctors treated them and blah blah blah. Well, no need to tell how much they trust the government and its deeds (wonder, how I am their daughter...ha ha ha wink)! Inspired by their experience, I went to experience my date at the JNIMS!

Coming back to the narration, I went to the third floor and saw a bunch of young doctors. I am sure they were those medical students who cracked the tough state medical entrance test after spending a year or two or more at the mushrooming profitable coaching institutes. Salute to you guys for your patience and hard work. Anyway, I submitted my ticket to one of those young docs and in a matter of few mins, I was called inside (so fast, so unlikely of govt hospital, I thought and smiled!)

A young dentist advised me to sit on the chair and started asking about my problem very politely. Then he opened my mouth and saw my aching problem. He asked me odd number of questions and I diligently answered all of them including how my filled cavity got unfilled and all. But instead of filling my cavity, he started jotting down some medicines, mouthwash etc. etc. Out of curiosity and some GK in me prompted me to ask whether he was going to fill the cavity or not, for I know my aching tooth would be relieved only when it's filled.

"Doctor, isn't the cavity in my tooth supposed to be filled to solve the problem? I asked."

"Yes, it needs filling," the doc replied.

"Okay!" I smiled and asked whether it's to be done that day only.

After a few seconds, the dentist answered, "Well...for that you need to visit a private clinic."

"Whatttt!!" I shockingly asked and wondered (still wondering), a hospital of such a stature and referring to private clinics. Isn't it supposed to be the other way round??

"But why doctor? Why can't my tooth be filled? I inquired.

"The problem is we don't have the material that is required for filling teeth and it's available only in private clinics. So you please visit a private dental clinic," the dentist quipped.

"What?? Available only in private clinics??" I asked.

The doctor nodded positively.

Noticing his reluctance to answer my questions, I knew something was wrong and started blaming the government. Yes, the blame-game (which we do often).

Hearing my complaints, the doctor started opening his mouth and told:

"Yes, you are right. The government doesn't provide us the adequate materials and equipments. We have the equipments and materials to remove the tooth but not those to fill it."

"No doc, I love my tooth and I can't let it die! Thank you so much." I said this and left the hospital immediately but very unsatisfied. In a fraction of seconds, the images that I built few mins ago for the government and its doctors broke down into pieces!

Reaching home, I narrated the whole story and taunted my parents how the JNIMS is the "world best hospital" with "state-of-the-art" equipments and facilities!! While narrating the episode, I came to know that it's the same thing at the RIMS too. My uncle told me how his grand kids were advised to visit a private dental clinic to fix their teeth! I mean seriously, I salute to my family for so much believing in government hospitals for providing such "world-class" facilities. Is it their belief in government or are they hoping for a new day in our government healthcare sector? I can only wonder! However, I have no hope nor I am visiting any of these hospitals ever! Yes, I "vow" to add more profits to the booming private clinic business rather than to the public exchequer!

By the way, what about those who can't afford expensive fees of private clinics?? Should they hope against the hope for a better facility at these hospitals?? Or should they be left at the mercy of God?

May God bless (my tooth)!

* Mehnaz N wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is the Founder of and former journalist at the Hindustan Times and Planman Media
This article was posted on February 24, 2013

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