I worked at Delek for the months of December, 2012, and January, 2013, which was a time of physician shortage. Four Indian trained Tibetan doctors had left in the prior year and Dr. Tsetan was gone for those two months down to the southern part of the country with His Holiness, so the only senior physicians there for those entire two months were me and that wonderful clinician, Dr. Kunchok. We did also have a couple of great doctors in training from Australia there, Arya and Jasmine, and then another American doc, Richard, who came to help for the last couple of weeks that I was there and stayed after I left. We also had a parade of medical students from the UK and Australia who were very helpful….not just decorative….given the need for help we had at that time. One of them, Mardi, became ill with typhoid fever….a disease with a significant mortality….but decided to stay at Delek for treatment and recovered completely within a week or so, due in a large part to the marvelous nursing care available at this relatively small, low-resource hospital.
Delek nurses, and Tibetan nurses in general, are renowned in India for their skill and compassionate style of caring. For instance, Dawa (the hospital administrator) and I visited Fortis Hospital one day to attempt to negotiate a reduced price for some medical procedures unavailable at Delek. The administrator agreed to do this only after Dawa promised to send him some Tibetan nursing graduates to interview for jobs at his hospital!
I could talk to you for hours about my experiences there but I’ll just mention one. Each morning before reviewing charts and starting rounds the doctors, students and head nurse would sit together for a minute of meditative silence, with the suggestion that it is a privilege to serve people in a medical capacity. This set the tone for the morning and really for the whole day. I love that tradition and have tried to use it at the free clinic where I volunteer.
OK, so I hereby give you permission to use my picture! Also, here’s a link to my poor quality photos of that time. They pictures have descriptive comments beneath them which form a bit of a narrative if you’re interested. If you want to use any of them, that’s also fine with me.