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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

AIIMS and IIT: Random Coversation

Central Lawn of AIIMS

Background Info: AIIMS is considered as one of the most prestigious medical colleges in India. Out of 100,000 students who sit for its entrance exam (MBBS): 77 get selected making it THE hardest college to get into, in the entire WORLD. Full Info at Wiki.
Recently, I was in AIIMS catching up with one of my friends there. His room was to die for, especially in the scorching Delhi heat (for those of you who don't know - every student living in AIIMS gets an AC in his/her room!) After the initial jubilation of meeting after several years was over, we got down to talking.

TND: Top Notch Doc
TNE: Top Notch Engg. (ha!)

TND: "If you take the brand AIIMS away and compare it with any other medical college - there would be hardly any difference between the two..."

TNE: "That is surely becoming true even for the IITs"

TND: "Initially AIIMS was supposed to be a research institution, possibly restricted only for postgraduate studies; but with growing pressure - you can see the AIIMS of today."

TNE: "That is, as far as I know, true even for the IITs.What is the structure of AIIMS?"

TND: "There are students - we, who until their final year concentrate mostly on theory and observing patients. In our final year we have do an intern - right here - in AIIMS, where we treat patients in OPD. Then there are residents who are the busiest people around here - they treat patients, they do research and they help us. Then there is faculty who after years and years of such tough life like to play it a little cool. But then they have a lot of higher end stuff to do..."

TNE: "We regularly hear that one has to wait infinitely long before he/she gets treated at AIIMS. What is the actual story?"

TND: "
I think the pressure on AIIMS is just too much. The line for OPD starts from 6:30 AM in the morning. The window finally opens at 8:30 - and you get cards issued for the morning shift till 10 AM. Then you wait for 2-3-4 hours for your turn before the doctor sees you. If you are lucky you are in the doc's room for about 5 mins. Each resident looks at approx 100 patients in a 4 hour morning shift. With that quantity - quality ought to go down. Not in terms of how we treat patients but in how much research are we able to produce..."

TNE (picking up a book on Dermatology and STDs): "You know, I have always been in awe of doctors - I wonder why people always forget medical schools when they talk about the India of 21st century; why do they always concentrate on IITs or IIMs..."

TND: "You surely don't want to read that book before going to Dinner"

TNE (Opens the book, flips through it): "Eeekkkkkkkk"

TNE (After catching his breath again): "I am changing the topic rather abruptly, but I always had this doubt - Do people who come from reserved quote make equally good doctors?"

TND: "Look, not all people who come from general quota become good doctors - and similarly all people who come from reserved category do not necessarily make bad doctors. The ratio might be slightly skewed but then again - the bias you might have has no standing"

TNE: "Hmm. So even here, are there people who study just before exams, or do you guys have to be very regular?"

TND: "Well there exist both kinds of people - many of them study just before exams and others study throughout the year. You cannot check everything a person knows during exam. And what would be asked in an exam can always be predicted. So people who study throughout the year might not have a great edge over others in exams, but then they definitely make better doctors 10 years down the line"

TNE: "Man, that is so true. So what after MBBS?"

TND: "Post Doc"

TNE: "India?"

TND: "Yups"

TNE: "Do people go out?"

TND: "Earlier 30% people used to go out, now it has come down to 10-15%"

TNE (coming out from a deep thought): "You say your curriculum is theory based and does not check the practical knowledge one might have - I mean how can that be possible: You people are doctors for god's sake. You would actually treat patients one day. You are not phony people like us..."

TND: "
When I said about our curriculum being all theory, I believe I meant only the written exams stuff and nothing else. We do have a practical aspect (as you said we are doctors here and do treat patients). We have morning postings in the Wards/OPD from 9:30 AM to 1 PM 5 days a week and we learn about patient care from the residents and faculty. When I said that the residents have it rough I did not mean that the Faculty does nothing. They also teach us but they are also very busy in patient care, research projects, conferences and writing scientific papers. We also have regular assessments of our practical skills in the form of ward leaving assessments (Practical exams and viva-voce at the end of our posting in each department) and the marks count towards our final exams.So you need not worry. But definitely things can be improved - everyone knows that they can be improved but no one does anything to change them..."

TNE: "Man, the story is exactly the same everywhere"

TND: "Infact, our performance throughout MBBS plays no role in the college we get for the post doc; it depends only on the marks we get in the exam for post doc."

TNE: "Ah this is little arbit"

TND: "No actually, I think we are being too critical about the system just because we have got everything right. Like
what you study here in 5.5 years is definitely of great use when you write the post doc exam, the only thing is: there is no direct co-relation between the two..."

TNE: "Yups. AIIMS has got to be one of the best places you can do your medical schooling from, but I guess the point we are making is - despite of that we should not become callous and should continue improving. Everyday...



We engineers lead a fairly simple life. So there should be absolutely no reason why should we sit back and just observe the sorry state of affairs. As far as Doctors are concerned - I guess, they do an extremely difficult job: afterall, what can be more difficult than dealing with life, and death - everyday...


Some other interesting bits of conversation

TNE: "I've been thinking since last 1 hour - What does OPD stand for"
TND: "Out Patient Department"
TNE: "Man - that is so counter-intuitive!"

TNE: "Are there girls in AIIMS"
TND: "1:5. And all good ones get taken early"
TNE: "We live 1:10 - Imagine our plight!"


I put his Rs 9000/- Stethoscope to my ear and I cannot but tell you the child like delight I felt. It was the first time I heard my own heart beat. Hearing the beat of life literally gave me shivers. I vicariously felt like being a doctor...saviors of life...mortal Gods.

Is there some law which says: if you hear your own heart beat, it becomes faster?

Doc chose to answer this rhetorical question:
The heartbeat does get faster and skips a few beats if you listen to it consciously.


TNE: "How are your Profs?"
TND: "Oh they are very difficult"
TNE: "Difficult!"
TND: "Ah - sorry - Profs is short form for our exams called professionals"THE : ":O"

~~~ The End~~~

Post Blogging Discussions: Thanks to
the friend for painfully going through the entire thing and helping me correct the facts. I had got some of them terribly wrong. Apologies. I guess responsible journalism is difficult ~


  1. I could read an entire blog post!! I can't believe it! It was nice indeed!:)

  2. nice conversation..
    thnks for it..

  3. awesome loved it....basic details in a simple blog

  4. One could rarely got a stuff like that !!!

    Hats off !!!

  5. I belong to your category of TNDs :P (I'm an AIIMS student, actually :) )
    Very accurate depiction. And the profs part is bang on, even I thought you were talking about the exams!
    Nice reading overall!