October 16, 2009 7:41 pm

Join Bone Marrow Registry – Save a Life

Filed under: Health and Nutrition,Medical — ramsblog @ 7:41 pm

I have volunteered for a Marrow Donor Registry Drive at work. It is a great sense of satisfaction to be a part of helping out. I heard that about 70 blood related diseases (leukemia, lymphoma, … ) can be cured with a Marrow Transplant.

personally, I have been looking for such a drive for almost over a year; had enquired several people about the drive events. Either I had the drive location but the timing and the location was not convenient or I wasn’t around for the local drives. It worked out earlier this year that I went and registered myself in one such donor event.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2008 more than 130,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma (cancers of blood and bone marrow). About 53,000 patients died from these diseases last year: this means that someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every 5 minutes and someone dies from blood cancer every 10 minutes in the U.S. alone, including many children. 3 out of 4 patients will not find a donor in their family. They will depend on unrelated marrow donors for a match.

Genetic diversity: 90% of the patients are likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. This creates a need for much stronger representation of all ethnic groups in the  registry.   Currently South Asians represent only 1.86 % of the registered donors on the registry. The match rate is only 1 in 20,000.

Readers here: I urge you, if you haven’t thought so yet, to please consider registering as a Marrow Donor. We do not know which patient might need your help and when. Not all donors’ marrow would match with the patient’s blood cells. Thousands of patients are waiting for a miracle, they are searching for a matching bone marrow donor.  You can change the world one person at a time.

I hope, if you are interested, not wait like the way I did without registering for over a year. you can find the nearest marrow drives/  events on
India – http://www.datriworld.org/  
International List of Bone Marrow Registries (for other countries) http://www.bmdw.org/index.php?id=addresses

Thank you,

Happy Diwali to you all …Be safe



August 4, 2009 6:03 pm

Recoup my valuable blood….

Filed under: Fun,General,Medical,Personal — ramsblog @ 6:03 pm



How long does it take to recover 3 tubes of blood? I went to a lab few days ago and the person there drew about 3 collection tubes of my blood. I usually don’t like to see my own blood being drawn, yes, I get fainted some times. however, I was dare enough to watch my blood being drawn this time. First off I noticed there were 3 empty tubes, I wondered but still didn’t ask anything. She prepared my arm to find a vein and there the pin / syringe was pierced into my my veins. Now the Blood poured through the pipe and into the tubes, it (blood) didn’t even ask me 😦

image source: http://www.haemtech.com/images2/tubes.jpg

Now, so much of blood is out, I think I would have to focus on eating more beetroots and apples to regain that amount of blood in a couple of days or a week? 🙂

August 3, 2009 8:32 pm

Medical Privacy? to what extent?

Filed under: Medical — ramsblog @ 8:32 pm

We often receive those privacy statements from the Doctors offices around here. It is often interesting that they don’t give us the report on our own tests or diagnosis, specially at the labs. If asked, most often the answer is they will send it across to the referred doctor. However, I don’t understand why can’t they get the payments from the referred doctors? seriously, I go to the lab or a medical facility for further diagnosis. the Reports are obviously neither handed over to me nor mailed to my home address. However, a week later, I receive two kinds of letters from that office.

1. a feedback survey – i don’t know what kind of feedback they expect from us
2. a billing statement – saying you are responsible for the service offered to you on so and so date and time.

i had called up the lab once to mention the very same point, that I have not received my report but have received the billing statement. Now, they have the blaming game there – the response was, the standard – for the name sake apology – “I am sorry, but we are from billing department, you would have to call another number or call your doctor for report” – well i am still confused. Call the doctor’s office, Doctors are almost NEVER willing to talk to the patients over phone, either they are busy or probably their policy doesn’t allow.

so we would have to make another appointment to discuss about the reports. well, that’s of course, another consultation appointment and charged to patient’s account (or the insurance company)

Am I missing something?

on top of all these, I am still trying to understand from those service providers that, they are allowed to share patient’s PII (privacy information), diagnosis report, records with the Insurance company, with the referred doctor, any other doctor who requests for it, but not the patient or his immediate family members. I do not know what prevents them from providing the report to patient.

do you have any such experience with your medical facilities?

September 22, 2008 6:36 pm

Ignorance is a Bliss? Half-knowledge? complete awareness?

Filed under: Communication,Kannada,Medical,People,Personal,Quotes — ramsblog @ 6:36 pm

Vani posted about her experience related to not having enough information [wise? or otherwise?]  and the thought process around it. It was a great topic that made me write so much into comment section there and turned out a long story that I thought might not be appropriate as a comment post. And here is what I typed in. You may have to read Vani’s post first to get the context. 

“Ignorance is a Bliss” well “it is still a bliss

I was at the toastmaster gathering last Thursday, some one came up with this proverb to talk about. “A little learning is a dangerous thing (One should have full knowledge, rather than spreading incomplete information)” Although it may sound a little contrary but was along the same lines.

I believe it depends on how we comprehend the half knowledge, whether towards expand the understanding or towards make decisions out of it.

I have off late heard that the rule of thumb ” When in doubt, Ask!”

ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಗಾದೆ ಇದೆ  “ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಗೊತ್ತಿರೋವ್ರ ಬಳಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಬಹುದು, ಏನು ಗೊತ್ತಿಲದವರ ಬಳಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಬಹುದು, ಆದರೆ ಅರ್ದಂಬರ್ದ ತಿಳಿದಿರುವವರ ಬಳಿ ಮಾತಾಡೋದು ಕಷ್ಟ!” (translation:  a proverb in Kannada: we can talk to people who are either completely aware or completely unaware, but it is hard to talk to people who have incomplete information) 

Another related Kannada proverb “ತುಂಬಿದ ಕೊಡ ತುಳುಕುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ” –> khaali koda, thumbidha koda are fine but a partially filled pot is noisy! 🙂

well again, i think it is contextual, in my observation.  🙂

back to “Ignorance is bliss” –> my favorite example for this is daily News (TV/newspaper/..) about local crime. Not until  we hear something wrong about the area that we would realize to be cautious to go around at nights, but once we hear anything about thefts, or some sort, the fear factor sets in our mind. Though one is ok to go around at nights, the other people around instill more of these telling more stories and make other person feel guilty or afraid to go around again.

My recent experience that made me scary until I went to a nerve specialist: Last winter, I felt a weakness in my left arm. I started to convince myself to say “it is nothing but will be ok”, just like the way you did. A few days later, we called up a nurse line, and according to her explanation upon a series of question and answer session, she said, “You would probably have to see the doctor in next few hours, it could be the symptoms for stroke” –> note, this was when talked to a professional. I was sure afraid, but still made a doctor appointment 2 days later. Went to an MRI of my shoulder; later went to a Nerve Specialist. He conducted several nerve compression tests (approx about $600) and asked me to make another appointment for reports. and the Resuts were for me to go to a physical therapist since there was a minor shoulder strain and it was recovering. I went for a physical therapy for few weeks, it got better. –> so it is all contextual, “at times even having fairly enough knowledge is also not enough“.

That reminds me of a Kannada song “ಹೇಳಿದ್ದು ಸುಳ್ಳಾಗಬಹುದು, ನೋಡಿದ್ದು ಸುಳ್ಳಾಗಬಹುದು, ನಿಧಾನಿಸಿ ಯೋಚಿಸಿದಾಗ ನಿಜವು ತಿಳಿವುದು…” [haeLidhdhu suLLaagabahudhu, nOdidhdhu suLLaagabahudhu, nidhaanisi yochisidhaaga nijavu thiLivudhu…] I don’t remember the name of the movie…

August 6, 2008 10:10 pm

Healthcare issues…

I came across this article on wall street journal titled “Much of Asia fails in healthcare“.

In a conversation with my parents when they said “many brides in India look for grooms living in the United States”. My response was, is it still the case, I don’t think it is the case any longer as I have heard about the greater economy, better supporting government (?), Privatization of lots of initiatives that are providing better employment opportunities, better cash flow, etc etc. anyways, that is a different context.

But as mentioned in this article, no matter how great the economy is, no matter how infrastructure is being built or designed, we still have the basic fundamental issue of taking care of the children at rural areas and some part of urban areas as well. The sad part is “Healthcare facilities in India and the Asia-Pacific region was also hampered by corruption“. What I have also noticed with all those infrastructure improvements, facilities, multistoried buildings, malls, etc etc was the fact from this article “underlining a widening gap between rich and poor across“. The standard and cost of living has risen so much in the past decade – but we still have the poor reaching towards poorer and the gap is so much. Poor still playing the catch up game in this part of economy.

What do you think is the solution? or is there a solution at all?

February 27, 2008 6:00 am

Laparoscopic Surgery

Filed under: Medical,Personal,Tech — ramsblog @ 6:00 am

I had to undergo a surgery last week. I have been postponing the process for quite sometime and finally had decided to go for it this year. I was sent back 2 weeks ago since I had cough and high fever. We had it rescheduled for last week. Doctor had explained to me about the difference between the Open Surgery and the Laparoscopic. I didn’t quite understand much at that time. He had also given me some material to read. I read more on wikipedia [link]. Reading more, I understood about the risks, advantages, disadvantages of these procedures.

However, I had to undergo the procedure last week. As we have heard, Ignorance is Bliss, since I didn’t know all the details, I didn’t think much about it, probably because I wanted to get this done ASAP. I have been on rest for almost a week now.

Now, that I wanted to know more about the procedure, I searched for any possible resources on youTube. Found a video clip on yahoo of the same procedure I went through. It now makes me scary that I went through it. Thanks to the Surgeon and Crew that performed on me. Thanks to whoever shared these online, (note: these video clips are not mine) it has been a good insight for me to understand what went through in a similar situation I was – and of course I was put into sleep for couple of hours.

Caution: If you can’t see a surgical process, blood, etc, PLEASE do not watch these clips. Clip1, same clip in smaller resolution

February 11, 2008 12:01 am

Process oriented or deviate a little bit?

Filed under: Communication,Medical,Process Improvement,Project Management — ramsblog @ 12:01 am

How best is the process oriented, step-by-step methodical execution of a project or a task would be? 
How about liberalizing, although existing great working process, a little bit to assess the impacts up-front and eliminate any unnecessary project costs?
How about clear communication ahead of time to reduce any possible project impacts?

I am having these and many more questions lingering in my mind in past 2 days, since I learned a lesson in another industry. I used to have these in software development project management past several years, but my new experience was with medical. Here is the recent instance, although thought of a short one, but became a bit longer text here, that taught me much more. 

I had a surgery appointment for yesterday at the local hospital. A day before the surgery appointment, I seemed to develop cold and cough in the morning. Around Noon, I also had a temperature up to 100 deg. So called the Surgeon’s office and left a message about my situation asking if it was ok to keep the surgery appointment or postpone it to some other time until cough,cold,fever goes away. I received the call back from the doctor’s office later in the afternoon, saying the situation will be assessed by an anesthesiologist once I get there. I had a similar conversation with a pre-Op nurse as well.

Anyways, there I go to the hospital the following day with 102 deg fever. I was asked lie on a bed, a lab person came in to draw my blood sample. I said, I have fever, cough and cold, would you want to check the vitals first. She said, there will be another nurse to do so. There goes 2 tubes of my blood. 20 minutes later, a nurse comes in, confirms my name and date of birth. Asked her the same question that I appear to have cold and fever would that be checked first. She says – yes, we need to do your weight first – got myself weighed, she noted the number. I was then asked to dress up with hospital outfit – well obeyed that. 15 mins later, she comes in and checks my Blood pressure, temperature and pulse. She says, oh 39.4 in right ear and 39.1 in left ear, that’s not good for a surgery. I was like “(wink), I have been asking this since yesterday.” She was just about to inject an IV into my veins, but then went back to check with the surgeon upon checking the temperature again to make sure. 5 minutes later another nurse comes back and says, “Surgeon says we cannot perform the procedure now, this will have to be rescheduled”

Now, if only one of them had heard me and checked the temperature even before I got onto hospital bed? *sigh*

This shows, that the professionals following their scripted process would tax most around. Why not liberalize a bit and do the key steps first?


cons of not checking temperature when we asked for (after arriving at the hospital)
a. I didn’t have use the Bed/stretcher and other paraphernalia (a pair of socks, head cap, gown, bed spread, etc)
b. I could have saved my blood (2 tubes were drawn for electrolytes panel test). This will be repeated if I reschedule my appointment for later time
c. two or three nurse staffs didn’t have to spend their 60-90 minutes on me
d. Lab work could be eliminated
e. Now, all these will be of course billed to my insurance. I don’t know how much money that is going to be.

Cons of not taking the decision the previous day:
a. I was not supposed to eat since the previous mid-night. also having the fever the previous day, wasn’t able to eat much – so it was pretty much 24hours between my first call to the doctor’s office till my visit to the hospital
b. I was very very tired when I arrived at the hospital – I could have at least consulted a family doctor to cure present situation
c. my wife had to take a day off to take me to the hospital
d. inconvenienced our neighbor to pick up our daughter from her school
e. plus all the above after arriving at the hospital

So, at times, it is better to take the decision ourselves instead of consulting the professionals. I could have canceled the appointment saying I wasn’t ready and uncomfortable with cold and fever, but I did not and waited professional advise, not knowing about fever and surgery.

Where was the problem?
After talking to the doctor personally, we realized, the information that was communicated from medical assistant to the doctors the previous day did not include my fever at 100’s that I mentioned to the person I talked to. *sigh – Communication!*

I have been in projects as a developer a decade ago where we had an application requirements (from a client) put together by another team, and we designed and developed an application accordingly. Once tested, we both went to the client with a close to finished product (yes, we did not do the prototyping back then; we used dbaseIII+; application was going to be installed on a machine with 20mb hard drive and 16mb RAM, I think). Looking at the screen shots, the business said, their requirements weren’t met – our product management translated the requirements differently to us. We had to re-design our database to get back to what they asked for, within a short span of time.
a. Resources used up in building for wrongly understood requirement
b. Trust factor reduced with the Customer to some degree (owner of that company told me in one of my visits to deploy that application)
c. repeated visits to the customer at the last minute to re-design
d. etc…

(Disclaimer: for privacy, I have not mentioned the name of the hospital or the place. I will not disclose any names in this aspect. I have used this long story as a lesson learned and how this can be used in other situations, and to keep things in mind for assessing impacts in my other roles; and not point fingers )

January 3, 2008 11:47 pm

Healthcare in India

Filed under: Medical — ramsblog @ 11:47 pm

I noticed about Health care service in India related topic on many sites in past few minutes. With a quick glance at TagSurfer section on my wordpress blog, displayed several posts on this topic – medinetIndia, etc etc. I noticed another post on LifeBeyondCode. Looking at the MedinetIndia site a video on Wockhardt hospital [http://www.wockhardthospitals.net/]. Back home, I have heard a lot about Wockhardt [wiki link], and apollo hospitals as most prestigeous ones.

Medinet portal has a streamline video saying more about the medical tourism – a lot of people visiting India for medical treatments and combine with vacation in beautiful country. It is certainly great to know that a lot of individuals from different parts of the world appreciating Ayurveda that I have used many times during my school days in Bangalore.

 My in-laws also visited a naturopathy service center near Bangalore a year ago. They have talked very high about the service there. I need to see if I can go over during my vacation visit to Bangalore this time. – Jindal Institute of Naturopathy.

June 25, 2007 4:13 pm

ER experience

Filed under: Medical,Personal — ramsblog @ 4:13 pm

I happened to rush to the ER 3 days ago. We managed to go over to the Swedish ER nearby.  There was a reason why we “rush”ed to the ER. However, by the time I got to the ER front desk, i was fairly ok and was able to transact with the people over there. One thing I liked (unlike what i had heard) was there were 2 people came out from inside and asked who the patient was, I indeed said “it’s me” and went in. They asked me to lay down on the bed and asked several questions. I was like why did I come here – anyways, after the questionnaire, I was given a big doze of tablets and some water. Vitals were checked, etc etc

I was there for over an hour and a half. In the meantime, a doctor walked in – checked the vital signs again, enquired few things, i was feeling cold by then and much tired. Another Nurse came in and gave me 2 more pills and after few minutes – another person came in and said – we are sending you home. I was like – Wow! I am all cured now.

 however, my wife drove me home and all I remember the next morning was, I stepped in, climbed the stairs – the next i remember is I woke up at around 9am the next morning… not sure how I got on my bed, and how long I slept. It was well rested sleep at least 🙂

October 28, 2006 5:29 am

Cut tablet before swallowing?

Filed under: Medical,Miscellaneous — ramsblog @ 5:29 am

I read an article on Times of India via Mindscope about cutting pills into pieces might have drastic effects. I remember during my childhood, our people around used to cut the tabs into halves and of doctors had suggest that as well. I think TOI article needs to provide evidences or actual survey numbers and be specific on the side effects. Agreed, one of the issues with cutting some pills into pieces causes rough edges and takes the coating away – that might damage the intestine as mentioned the same article.


I have even noticed a pill slicer product at the local Walgreens store when I was there recently. That means, it should probably be ok. Ah well, some one mentioned and I realized not to cut or crush was due to the bitterness it gives while we swallow it specally when you open up a capsule and put the powder in water or milk. Anyways, as always, there are mixed opinions on this topic.


“According to experts, over 80% of people have a habit of crushing tablets to help patients, especially children and the elderly, take their medicines. However, doctors say the trend is alarming and dangerous. Not only does crushing pills alter the effect of the drug, it can also affect the way the drug is released or absorbed, possibly causing serious side effects.



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