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What's different between medical sectors of Korea and India?Couple from South Asian country cites technology, doctor-patient relationship
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2017.03.16 08:03
  • Updated 2017.03.16 17:00
  • comments 0

There was a time the world regarded India as a country where spirits govern materials. Not anymore. The South Asian country is one of the most rapidly growing economies on this globe, led by top-level professionals, including IT experts.

India’s medical industry, too, is at least as advanced as Korea’s. Two things, however, makes the difference between the medical fields of the two countries – technology and doctor-patient relationship -- according to two Indian doctors undergoing fellowship courses here.

Anjali Chandra stands with her husband Bipin Solanki at Ewha Mokdong Hospital, during a recent interview with The Korea Biomedical Review.

“We don’t have much robotic surgery in India because the technology is expensive, but Korean doctors perform it quite often. I was able to learn how Korean professors conduct the operation,” said Bipin Solank, an Indian doctor who has completed the fellowship course at Ewha Mokdong Hospital. “They also use small cameras while performing laryngoscopies. They have innovative ideas.”

Another thing unique to Korea’s medical environment is the patient-doctor relationship, he said.

“Patients here believe their doctors and accept their treatment,” Bipin stated in an interview with The Korea Biomedical Review Tuesday. “In contrast, people in India never listen to their doctor. They always question them. They are very sensitive to price, and also expect a 100-percent guarantee.”

Cultural differences exist, but medical treatment is ultimately the same all around the world, which explains why it is important to travel and experience other cultures.

“Doctors have standard guidelines on how to treat people, so that doesn’t differ much wherever you go. But people are different. You learn about different cultures and different people within medicine,” said Anjali Chandra. “The experience builds confidence because you learn new things and you interact with various people. It makes you more interactive.”

The two Indian doctors are a married couple, who came to Korea in December for a three-month fellowship program to find new medical knowledge, culture, and confidence abroad.

“When you see more, you can compare more,” the husband said. “You think broadly, and you do more good work back in your country than otherwise.”

Anjali Chandra and her husband Bipin Solanki have completed a three-month fellowship program at Ewha Mokdong Hospital.

Western people may find it unfamiliar, but the two got married by arrangement and fell in love with each other after that. Anjali said her parents found a picture of his husband online and contacted him. Her parents did a thorough “screening” of Bipin and his workplace. After Anjali’s parents had okayed their would-be son-in-law, they introduced him to their daughter. The young couple met twice and got married six months later.

The two doctors come from New Dehli where medical treatment parallels that of Korea. The Indian capital city has cutting-edge technology and medical faculty that provides top-notch service for its patients.

The rest of India, however, is not the same, Bipin said.

His wife agreed. “About 70 percent of the Indian population live in rural areas, and only 30 percent live in the cities,” Anjali said, adding that India’s rural areas are poor. There are almost no medical facilities there, and people cannot afford treatment.

India has government-run and privately run hospitals. Government hospitals provide medical services for free but have limited treatment and resources. Private hospitals, on the other hand, primarily cater to the very wealthy. Most of the Indian people, therefore, use government hospitals but do not get proper treatment. Worse still, only 17 percent of the Indian population has insurance. “The poor sometimes have to sell their land to afford medical treatment,” Anjali said.

India has a population of about 1.26 billion, and its doctor-patient ratio is quite low. “Even though there are more doctors in India than in Korea, it’s not enough,” Bipin said. “There’s a long list of patients waiting for surgery. Patients, including those suffering from cancer patients, have to wait almost one year.”

Despite having to juggle busy schedules, the couple finds reassurance in each other. Asked about the benefits of them being engaged in the same profession, the wife said, “I do have to learn, but it’s learning plus entertainment with him. Learning becomes more natural then.”

Through their four years of marriage, they had little time to spend with each other as the two doctors worked seven days a week to treat the staggering amount of patients walking through their doors.

“You work on the weekends in India. We worked in different hospitals so we would come home only to sleep, and then go back to work,” Anjali said. “When I came to Korea, I was so happy to rest on Saturdays and Sundays, and to be with my husband.”

“I’m very thankful that Professor Park Jang-won brought us together to Korea,” Bipin said. “I’m also grateful for Professors Kim Young-hoo and Jeong Kyung-ah because they were so helpful and friendly. They made a living here easy. I’ve learned so much regarding medical knowledge, culture, and language.”

The couple said they could fare well in a foreign land because all people were warm-hearted.

“Korean doctors are excellent English-speakers, teachers, and researchers,” Bipin said. “When I compare the three months I could have spent in India and the three months I spent here, I’ve learned so much more here than I would have learned back home, Korea is my second home.”

“Of course, I learned the technical skills here,” Bipin said. “Learning technical things was the primary goal, but I also learned outside the hospital. We run into language barriers and cultural differences. But we enjoyed facing and solving problems because they add to our experience. I love that.”

“If you have the opportunity, then go abroad,” Anjali said looking at her husband. “Better still go with your partner by all means if only circumstances allow it."


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