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Friday, September 19, 2014

"… And there's one more thing"

Sorry, this post is not about Steve Jobs. Or Apple.
It's about my Pacemaker, fitted on
August 25th, 2014.

In case you (or someone you know) is going to get one,
this is what happens in Karachi.

As you can see, my Pacemaker came from Meditronics,
a world-famous firm that makes great stuff.
Yes, it works. Don't worry.

But "… there's one more thing". Or maybe even more.

The Cardiologist I went to was Dr. Zia Yaqoob (ZY) who was also my Cardiologist during my Quadruple Bypass in 2009. He works at National Medical Centre, which is just a couple of minutes from my house. Very convenient.

(You can read this and this, if you've missed out the past!)

I was admitted and was to have my surgery performed in the afternoon. ZY said he had asked the Vendor to supply the Pacemaker and it would be here in a while. A little later I was taken to the surgery and was being prepared.

Outside, my wife had someone who approached her with a package that she had to accept and pay for. It was the Pacemaker and parts. Pay? I thought the doctor had told us what it would cost and since we were paying the hospital they should pay the Vendor and bill us. But no. In this case you bought it separately.

Fine, said my wife. But could you please take it to the surgery and make sure its the right thing. No, said the Vendor. "You pay. You take it in." My wife gave the person the money (he left right away) and she handed the Pacemaker to ZY&c. It was, thankfully, the right one … but its awful that the Vendor doesn't hand it over himself. The receiver may not know if its the right item or not.

I came out of the surgery an hour and a half later and stayed in the hospital overnight. The next day I was asked to leave and was told that the Vendor would give me an Implanted Device Identification Card in two days. I should carry it with me all the time. I gave Sabeen my Visiting Card to make sure she'd call the guy up and give him the correct spelling of my name. She did. And he said in two days you'll have the card. I thought I'd wait another three days … nothing works on time here.

On the 29th I called him up again. No answer. We continued doing this for several days. No response. Finally, on the 5th September, I went to see ZY for a check-up and also mentioned to him that the Card hadn't yet arrived. He called his assistant and told him to phone up and get the card delivered to the hospital.

On the 8th September we phoned up the guy and he responded. He said he had sent the card via TCS Delivery Service. "Where to?", asked my wife. "I don't know. Could be your house … or the Hospital!", said the Vendor. Wow. Isn't that just great.

Three days later we went back to ZY without a card. He said he'd "chase the chap right away". Nothing happened. On the 15th September I visited him again and the chap at the Reception handed me an open Card and said someone had just left it there a little while earlier. No TCS. No envelope.

I thanked ZY and said I'd had to cancel my trip to Lahore because I could not have flown without this card. He said to me, "The Vendor is a nasty piece of work. There was another Vendor who was better but this chap had him removed. We have no choice. I have told the other doctors about your bad experience."

Got home and decided to scan the card and keep a copy.
Here is what had arrived.

Apart from an overtyping of my name and the Serial Number
there was Hospita.

Khaér. I scanned it.
Then I'd thought I'd check the boxes give to us.
Most people just throw them away.
And, in any case, with an English Literacy rate of 1%
they can hardly read anything.

Fortunately, I did open the boxes up!

The Serial Number should have been
(Just a digit missing, right?)

Worse, the Lead Number should have been
(Absolutely wrong on my card.)

Tried phoning the Vendor. No Answer.

I called up my neighbour and friend Dr Shamim Ahmad, who phoned up ZY, and got the address of the firm. We spent a lot of time looking for an office "above Scholl's". The Scholl chap said the building had a top floor. There was nothing there. The door was locked.

After more searching we went back to a small tailor shop at the other end of the building. He said, "Oh, the ACP store? Come through my shop. It's above us." Actually one could have seen the door from outside, too, but there were no Signs or Names to look at. This is what it looked like.

 On the right you can see a man opening the door and going up

A trip to the stair case took me to this entrance.

That's the Tailor Shop on the left.

After ringing a small bell that had the company's name badly written, I walked up through the door that was just opened by the man I had seen earlier.

What a bell!!! The company name is on it. So easy to spot, no?

There were hordes of boxes on the stairs all the way up to the office, with a couple of people pulling them up and stacking them. The boxes were from Turkey.

Of the two gentleman the senior one asked me what it was. I told him. He said Mr Waheed does the typing and he is "at the Cardiovascular Hospital. Can you wait?" 

The other person said I should come up and sit down. He'll call Waheed on the phone. In I went. Saw even more boxes piled up everywhere.

I am sure the Turks think this is a great company.

I also asked the person that the office must keep a record of what had been given and to which patient. There must be a record in the office. Accounts? Delivery challaan? Huh? Huh? No response.

Waheed came on the line. Was told what had happened.
Not even a 'Sorry' from him.

The gentleman said to me that Waheed had written on the last card they had in the office and sent it on to me. There were no cards left in office. I said it shouldnt't take more than a couple of days to print them here … but was told that they have to be from Medtronics in the USA.

Given the card that I had, it was on a rather poorly printed version with Medtronics in Blue. Easily printed here, I am sure. Specially by their Distributor. I asked him why Medtronics didn't send as many cards (plus a couple more) than the machines they sent here. I mean that seems obvious, right? "It's Amrika", he said "and they can do what they like."

Sad that in a country, with little or no literacy rate, a Pacemaker can be fitted and the card (with the wrong numbers) sent out after 3 weeks … with so much more worrying, and visits to the Doctor, by the patient. What if the patient happens to be a chap from the interior of Sind (and one who cannot even read what's on the card). He may be travelling to the UAE for a job, for example, and have an invalid card. If something happens to him, the Medtronics team will not be able to trace these boxes back, if called.

Although ACP wanted a TCS Delivery Address I have left my phone number, instead, with them and asked them to phone me when the cards arrive. Will go and pick it up myself. And make sure its correctly filled in.

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Anonymous Salman Siddiqui said...

Everything just has to be that much harder and difficult in Pakistan. As though people go the extra mile to do you wrong.

19 September, 2014 12:20


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