I was skeptical before writing this post. But, sooner than later , i decided that the views on this issue of UPSC Medical needs to be expressed. Today only, i got over with the mental trauma meant for the selected UPSC candidates whose medical was scheduled in the GTB Hospital, Shahdara, New Delhi.
I understand the necessity of this medical examination. But the experience that i had this time was awful. My UPSC interview was on 27th March 2010 and the medical was on 29th. To my utter surprise, some 18 candidates out of 20 were referred to a separate medical board and were asked to come again. Few of the candidates had high Blood Pressure, some had vision problem, and the majority had high BMI (Body Mass Index). I fell into this last category.
I was told that i am over weight. My weight turned out to be 82 kgs. I was told that as per my height, my weight should be 78 or below. I was under the impression that +5 and -5 kgs are admissible. My BMI turned out to be 26. They said that 25 is the standard and hence, mine is higher. I was advised that i should reduce my weight and appear before the medical board again.
I was amused at the situation. More so, because, this was not the first time i was giving the UPSC Medical. But, with all courtsey, i accepted their judgement. I started jogging in the evenings and avoided rice and paranthas in my diet, with a hope that i will reduce 4 kgs. Somehow, i managed to reduce 1.5 kgs. I was very happy if not fully satisfied.
I went for the medical again on 19th april, as we were asked to come on monday only. A separate physician board sat for us. Some 15-20 candidates were there. My turn came. They weighed me. The figure came as 81.2 kgs. I was bit contented as i believed that with lower weight, my BMI will automatically come down. If it was 26 earlier with 82 kgs, then it will surely come down to near about 25 with 81.2 kgs. The day ended. In the evening , to my biggest surprise, i was told that my BMI is very high. I asked the logic behind it and there was no answer. They wrote my BMI as 29.5 !!!! I, then with the assistance of some of my Doctor friends, calculated my BMI and it came to be 25.9 !!
Now, here is the catch. They wrote the figure 25.9 as 29.5 !!
Who's mistake is this ? In the hospital, there is nobody ready to take the accountability. Who suffers ? We, the students. They wrote 6 tests to be done for each and every candidate. I fail to understand that if a person is overweight, then why his ultrasound is done ? What is the connection between weight and kideny and liver functioning tests ? On top of it, the hospital staff seemed to be least empathetic with the candidates. At the drop of a hat, they will say that - kindly come tommorrow for the test because some machine is not working or some staff is not available or some kit is out of stock.
Through these entire proceedings, they failed to understand one thing. That is - the candidates' perspective. Many of them were left stranded in Delhi just because of this medical board. Most of them cancelled their reservations but couldn't get their next train. Staying in Delhi for more than 2 days was also not an economical affair for many of them.
I, somehow, got over with the medical today. I never imagined that it will turn out to be such a baffling and an indifferent stage.
My Suggestions :
- UPSC should lay down the standards for the medical tests to be conducted in the hospitals and shouldn't leave it at their discretion.
- Intensive medical tests should be done only for the candidates who have been finally selected.
- If possible, employ a separate Hospital staff for the medicals and all such tests should be done in a single hospital.
- Lack of coordination between various dapartments of the hospitals has been a major irritant for the candidates. So, its time to improve it.
- Candidates should not be punished for the mistakes committed by the Doctors, as happened in my BMI readings. ( I am not the only case here )
Anyways, there is always a lot to learn from such instances. We, the student community, have been cooperating with the authorities in the best possible manner. The only humble request is a bit of cooperation from their side.