by Roma Patel

Real Medicine Foundation Guest Entry

I heard about the Real Medicine Foundation and that they would be needing help in Ahmedabad, Gujarat through a friend of a friend. Always looking for any unique volunteer opportunity, I jumped to the occasion. They needed me to assist patients and their families that came to the Civil Hospital, a local government hospital, for advanced medical care. Even though I had vast experience at hospitals in the United States, I had never before been to a hospital at India. I was only vaguely familiar with how healthcare worked in India. But, nonetheless, when I got a call saying they have a patient admitted and would I go to help out, I was elated at the prospect of being able to help.

It was not until I got to the hospital and realized how monstrous it was that I felt totally apprehensive and overwhelmed about the situation. But I carried on and went inside to find the first patient, Rahul. As soon as I saw the look of relief on Rahul’s parent’s faces when I introduced myself, all of my fears vanished. I visited the hospital daily during Rahul’s admission. I learned to communicate with the doctors and translate the information they told me (or that I got out of them) in my broken Hindi. I quickly realized that the parents were simply scared and overwhelmed. They just needed someone at their side to advocate for their child and help them navigate. My regular connection with them kept them rooted at the hospital and prevented them from eloping. Knowing that my connection with them kept his parents in the hospital and allowed Rahul to get the treatment he needed made my time and efforts worthwhile.

The families that I worked with during my few months with the Real Medicine Foundation were illiterate but very competent. They just needed someone by their sides to give them courage and support and to help them get through the difficult time in their lives. My time with the Real Medicine Foundation gave me the opportunity to connect with people, help patients, learn about the healthcare system in India, and grow as a person. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope that the Real Medicine Foundation continues to get the support they need in order to keep touching lives everywhere they go.

For a more detailed account of my time in India, please visit my blog at

With love in service,


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